Ransomware hits Australian hospitals after botched patch

WannaCry? Minister says data is safe, so save your tears for now

Hospitals connected to Australian State of Queensland's integrated electronic medical record system (ieMR) are suffering outages attributed to patching against a ransomware attack.

Since the ransomware-de-jour is WannaCry/WannaCrypt, it's a fair bet that's what Queensland Health was working to patch, but somewhere along the line things have gone wrong.

The Cairns Post identifies Cairns Hospital as having system problems, and The Register has been told at least Townsville Hospital and Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital are also affected.

Queensland's health minister Cameron Dick told state parliament today the outages haven't compromised patient safety, but Cairns Hospital's emergency department reached capacity yesterday as a result of the outage.

Rather, it appears, some users have been unable to log into the systems following the patch – perhaps because endpoints also need updates for compatibility.

Dick identified Microsoft, Citrix, and practice management specialist Cerner as vendors who had provided patches.

Local newspaper The Courier Mail reckons the outage is also affecting the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane and the Mackay Hospital.

Cairns Hospital was among the hospitals chosen as the pilot for Queensland Health's Digital Hospital last year, a rollout almost immediately criticised by the Cairns Post as being defective and contributing to a budget blowout at the hospital.

Queensland Health was also on the wrong end of a long battle with IBM over a failed payroll system. ®

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