Ransomware at Waikato hospitals brings chaos

Ongoing criminal investigation.

Major regional hospital in Hamilton New Zealand, Waikato District Health Board experienced a full outage of its information technology systems on the 18th of May 2021.

A Coordinated Incident Management System has been established to resolve the situation as soon as possible. We are currently investigating the cause of this outage.

This affected all clinical services across our Waikato DHB hospitals (Waikato, Thames, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui) to varying degrees.

The five hospitals within Waikato DHB impacted by the cyber security event have managed demand and capacity well this weekend, said Dr Kevin Snee chief executive at Waikato DHB.

“Our IT team are continuing to work with government agencies and the private sector to resolve the issue and are making steady progress in getting systems back online,” he said. “This will happen in a careful and phased manner.”

A contingency plan was implemented to enable staff to be paid based on the hours worked from their previous period with adjustments made as required.

This was necessary due to some problems with Payroll being unable to process wages as normal as a result of the IT system being down. Employees can contact Waikato DHB Payroll Services in the event of financial hardship or underpayment, Dr Snee stated.

According to a media statement released by Waikato some “media outlets received what appears to be personal and patient information from Waikato DHB information systems”.

Media outlets have confirmed they will not make this information public and have referred it to the Police.

This is an ongoing criminal investigation and Waikato DHB is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), The Privacy Commission and NZ Police to respond, remediate and recover from this incident.

Due to the complexity of the incident, Dr Snee said the situation is not going to be resolved quickly.

Doctors, surgeons, nurses and administrative staff at Waikato Hospital were taking notes using pen and paper following a cyber-attack.



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