A suspected cyberattack has hit the Eitanim psychiatric hospital near Jerusalem, prompting staff to shift to manual protocols while medical treatments continue unaffected. The Israeli Health Ministry stated that the disruption hasn’t impacted patient care.
Responsibility for addressing the incident was transferred from the Health Ministry’s cyber team to the National Cyber Directorate, but details regarding the extent of the damage and the perpetrators behind the cyberattack remain undisclosed. This incident follows a recent surge in cyber threats and attacks targeting healthcare institutions in Israel, underscoring the heightened cybersecurity risks faced by various organizations in the country.
In a related context, the hacking group Ranger Locker threatened to release sensitive medical information, allegedly stolen from Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, unless a multi-million-dollar ransom was paid.
This incident occurred in August when the group disrupted the hospital’s computer systems. Although the attack was characterized as “financially motivated,” the hospital refused to negotiate with the hackers. Notably, the hacker group Ranger Locker is not known to be affiliated with any specific organization or state.
Cybersecurity challenges have been a growing concern in Israel, with Check Point, an Israeli cybersecurity firm, reporting that the country’s institutions experience approximately twice as many cyberattacks as the global average.
Israel’s healthcare sector alone faces an average of 1,443 weekly cyberattacks, according to a 2021 report by Check Point. This increase in cyber threats has impacted various sectors, with education, research, government, and security organizations, along with health institutions, being heavily targeted. In 2021, one out of every 60 Israeli organizations or firms fell victim to a ransomware attack, marking a 30% increase over the previous year, according to Check Point’s findings.