Cyber​​attack shuts down information systems of 13 Barcelona healthcare centres

by Lorraine Williamson
cyberattack Barcelona

BARCELONA – The computer system of three hospitals in Barcelona has been down after a cyberattack involving ransomware. The attack was committed on Friday night and the system was still not operational by Saturday night. 

This concerns the information systems of all services of the Consorci Sanitari Integral (CSI), which includes several health centres, nursing homes and hospitals. Among these are three hospitals in the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona;

  • El Dos de Maig in Barcelona
  • Moisès Broggi in Sant Joan Despí
  • Hospital General in L’Hospitalet.

The cyberattack was of the ransomware type. This infects a system and hijacks data in exchange for a sum of money. If that is paid, the attack is cancelled. 

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“Major attack” 

Sources at the Catalan Cybersecurity Agency told EFE on Saturday that it was a “major” attack and indicated that their technicians are working tirelessly to resolve the incident. Furthermore, sources at the Catalan Police Service Mossos d’Esquadra said that investigations into the origin of the attack are also underway there. 

The cyberattack has hampered the functioning of the care centres. Staff were unable to view personal data and health histories or perform tests like scans with devices running on the system. “It is chaos. We are now writing the reports by hand,” said one of the medical specialists. The emergency services are guaranteed, said a spokesman for hospital Moisès Broggi. However, the frontline services have to work without their information services. 

Hospitals sought after by cybercriminals. 

A few years ago, this hospital was also the victim of a similar cyberattack involving the type of ransomware. Since the information that hospitals collect and store is highly sensitive, it is a popular target for cybercriminals. Unlike then, this time, all the hospital’s backups are fully up to date, according to a spokesperson for the system administration. Hovever, it is still unknown whether the criminals are in contact with hospital boards or healthcare authorities to lift the attack. 

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