As reported by Reuters, South Africa’s Life Healthcare said on Tuesday its southern African operation was hit by a cyber attack affecting its admissions systems, business processing systems and email servers, but is yet to determine the extent to which data has been compromised.
The hospital operator said its patient care was not impacted and an investigation into the incident is underway. Southern Africa is Life Healthcare’s biggest market that includes Botswana. The company said its hospitals and administrative offices continue to function with some delays, after having switched to backup systems.
The healthcare system will always be a lucrative and attractive target for threat actors, as they can often not have the strongest security and protection against threats. Once a hospital or similar is attacked, there is a race against time to decide what to do, with an added risk to life.
Calling all the hallmarks of ransomware, I would imagine that Life Healthcare are in a dilemma as to if or how to pay. I would never recommend paying a ransom but these days more and more companies are forced to pay to speed up the process of getting back to business as usual. However, this can be extremely costly to an organisation and it still doesn’t confirm the data will be restored.