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Lakeridge looking to strengthen systems following cyberattack

Lakeridge Health

Lakeridge Health was one of the many organizations impacted by a recent worldwide cyberattack.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Things are returning to normal following a cyberattack at Lakeridge Health. While it was not as severe compared to others seen around the world, the hospital is looking at how to prevent it from happening again.

The cybertattack, now colloquially known as the “Wannacry” virus, swept through more than 150 countries on May 12, using ransomware to disrupt the computers of various organizations.

At Lakeridge Health, the impacts were minimal, with no patient information compromised, but it took some time before the hospital was able to fully realize what was happening.

“We had a computer virus hit us and it took a while to kind of figure out that this was the same virus that was hitting computers worldwide,” spokesperson Lloyd Rang explains.

The hospital was forced to shut down its servers in order to isolate the problem. However, the hospital’s anti-virus software was able to hold off the worst of the attack.

“All the patient systems, everything that was mission critical was running as it should and then what our IT team did is went through server by server, scrubbed everything clean and then got everything back up and running again,” Rang explains.

The following days would see some systems come back online with the final systems coming back online the following Wednesday.

“Because our system isolated it, it didn’t really get a chance to do its thing,” Rang says. “We’re going to look back at what we could have done differently, and we’re going to look forward, what we can do differently in the future now that we’re back up and running again.”

Other organizations were not so lucky. The virus paralyzed systems in Europe, including the system operating Britain’s hospital network and Germany’s national railway. The virus exploited weaknesses in computer systems and after taking over the computer, demanded a payment of $300 in order to unlock the computer again.

At Lakeridge, things did not progress to that point.

“If you were a patient here, you wouldn’t have seen anything noticeably different,” Rang says. “Some of our processes might have been slowed down a little bit, but we didn’t hear from any patients, certainly that they saw any impacts.”