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Israel's Cyber Authority says attack on hospitals less severe than thought

Un message apparaît sur un écran d'ordinateur prévenant l'utilisateur d'une cyberattaque, le 27 juin 2017 à Geldrop, aux Pays-Ba
Rob Engelaar (ANP/AFP)
Reports suggest 50 computers across the country were damaged, but services were not affected

A National Cyber Defense Authority investigation found that of the eight hospitals suspected to have been hacked overnight on Wednesday, only two were actually attacked -- the other six were false alarms, the agency reported in a statement on Thursday. 

A number of Israeli hospitals reported to have come under cyber-attack overnight, with some institutions sustaining minimal damage while others managed to stave off the assault. Israel's Channel 2 originally reported that 50 computers were damaged at eight hospitals across the country.

Computers were attacked at Hadassah Ein Karem and Hadassah Mount Scopus hospitals in Jerusalem, Assaf Harofeh in Tzrifin, Poriya in Tiberias and the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya.

Shortly after the attack began, the cyber department of the Ministry of Health began a joint operation with the National Cyber ​​Action Headquarters to repel the attack, the Walla news site reported.

The National Cyber Authority said that "there were attempts to attack several hospitals during the night, several computers in some hospitals were infected, but treated immediately with no damage caused. The incident was halted by cyber personnel from the organizations involved, as well as the Cyber ​​Protection Authority. There was no damage to the functioning of the hospitals."

The agency maintained that the incident was unrelated to a massive wave of global cyberattacks which started in Russia and Ukraine before spreading to western Europe on Tuesday.

IT experts identified that virus as "Petrwrap", a modified version of the Petya ransomware which hit last year and demanded money from victims in exchange for the return of their data.

On Tuesday, the head of Israel's Shin Bet security service warned would-be cyber-attackers that Israel's cyber strategy is not only defensive -- but offensive as well -- and hackers "should be prepared for surprises."

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