Hacked AIIMS Server Partly Restored After Two Weeks, Ransomware Attack Deliberate, Finds NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating the “deliberate and targeted” ransomware attack on the servers of AIIMS Delhi, Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has said.

“I can’t comment on that as it is a subject matter of an investigation by the NIA…It is pretty clear that it is a deliberate and targeted effort…a ransomware attack on AIIMS’ system… and NIA is investigating it,” Chandrasekhar said on Thursday.


Multi-agency investigation  

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi allegedly faced a cyber attack on November 23, paralysing its servers. A case of extortion and cyber terrorism was registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police on November 25.

In a ransomware attack, cybercriminals lock access to data or a device and promise to unlock it after they are paid the desired ransom.

Following the massive outage that crippled the functioning of the country’s top medical facility a multi-agency investigation comprising of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Delhi cybercrime special cell, Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre, Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Forensic Sciences University, National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre and NIA, among others were launched.


AIIMS back to near normal 

After nearly two weeks, the server was restored on Tuesday and near-normal service resumed on Wednesday. 

The online registration of patients resumed on Tuesday after the hospital was able to access its server and recover lost data.

Last week the AIIMS had issued a statement saying that the e-Hospital data has been restored.

AIIMS, tip of the iceberg

It is not just AIIMS Delhi that has been targetted by cybercriminals.

There are also reports that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) faced around 6,000 hacking attempts within 24 hours on November 30.


However, the attempts made to hack the ICMR website was not successful and the server was not affected and was running smoothly. The attackers have been blocked and the NIC team prevented the hacking attempts on the ICMR website.

The Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi was also hit by a cyber attack, but its impact was limited as the facility runs mainly on a manual system. Only one server was down and it was rectified in one day.

A study by NordVPN, one of the world’s largest VPN service providers found that the personal data of around 600,000 Indias have already been sold in the bot market.

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