Visuals from the spot showed black smoke billowing out of the windows, above the emergency ward of the AIIMS. File photo

AIIMS cyber attack: Staff work overtime on manual mode to ensure patient care

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A week after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi reported an IT outage due to a suspected ransomware attack, doctors and staff are working overtime to cater to patients, as most of the work has shifted to manual mode.

The servers for the AIIMS e-hospital system have gone down, affecting digital hospital services, including smart lab, billing, report generation, and appointment system. Two system analysts at AIIMS have been suspended and served a show-cause notice.

Speaking exclusively to The Federal,  an AIIMS official  said: “Top officers (from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, Delhi Police, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Intelligence Bureau) are looking into the incident, and the administration is very confident of restoring its servers at the earliest.”

Also read: Sleuths suspect terror angle in AIIMS hack as server cleansing continues

Assuring patients of continued and best services, the official added that the administration has deployed additional staff to run diagnostics, labs, and OPD services. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has also joined the ongoing investigation into the suspected malware attack.

A nursing officer, without wishing to be named, said the lab-testing facility has been majorly affected, as blood and sample reports have to be handwritten by doctors and staff. “Doctors are not able to generate Unique Health Identification (UHID) and Aadhaar for patients.”

Farzana Ilmi, a patient from Faridabad, thanked the doctors and staff for tending to the patients and making reports manually. “The resident doctors are working overtime and rushing from patient to patient to clear prior appointments. Although the hospital servers have been affected, the patients haven’t really faced too many difficulties,” said Ilmi, her five-year-old daughter seated next to her.

Also read: Hackers demand Rs 200 crore in cryptocurrency from AIIMS-Delhi as server remains down for 6th day

So far, of the 5,000-odd computers at the country’s premier medical facility, around 2,000 have been thoroughly scanned using anti-virus and anti-malware software. Thirty of the 50 servers have been scanned.

News agency PTI, quoting sources, said internet services are likely to remain suspended, as the investigation agencies want a thorough cleansing. “The full sanitisation of the network is likely to continue for five more days. Thereafter, e-hospital services can be rolled out in a phased manner.”

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