India’s leading public medical institute, All India Institute of Medical Services, or AIIMS, is experiencing an outage due to a cyber-attack.
The outage affects hundreds of patients and doctors who have access to primary health care, including patient admission, discharge and billing systems.
Founded in 1956, AIIMS has thousands of medical and postgraduate students. AIIMS is also one of the largest state hospitals with a capacity of more than 2,200 beds.
The cyberattack, reported in New Delhi on Wednesday evening, appears to be similar to a ransomware attack as the attackers modified the extensions of infected files, hospital authorities said.
AIIMS officials told todaybusinessupdates.com that patient care has been hit hard since early Wednesday.
The medical institute switched to manual operations, including handwriting patient notes, because the server that recorded patient data stopped working. The outages have led to long queues and errors in the handling of emergencies.
After the first few hours of disruption, the hospital authorities confirmed the cyber attack in a statement. The outage lasted until Thursday.
“We can’t send many blood tests, request imaging tests, and can’t see previous reports or images. Many such surgeries are performed manually, which is more time-consuming and prone to error,” a local doctor, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, told todaybusinessupdates.com.
Hospital authorities later on Thursday focused doctors to continue using handwritten notes, including hand-signing birth and death certificates, while keeping the systems idle.
A team from the National Informatics Center is working closely with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to assist in the recovery of the organization. According to a person with direct knowledge of the incident, there is an attempt to restore the data from backups.
Meanwhile, several law enforcement agencies including the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations of the Delhi Police are investigating the incident and the people behind the attack. The police have too submitted a formal complaint about this.
Details on whether the attackers had access to patient data have yet to be publicly announced.