India’s largest and most advanced government-run hospital, more popularly known by its acronym AIIMS (The All India Institute of Medical Sciences), suffered a hack of its servers on November 23.
Even as they remained out of order for the sixth consecutive day, a new twist emerged in the ongoing multi-agency investigation and restoration effort.
A leading news agency on Monday claimed that Rs 200 million ($25 million) in ransom has been asked by the attackers to restore nearly 50 servers that were down after the events.
Demand for $25 Million in Ransom
Press Trust of India (PTI) said in a report on Monday that hackers have demanded a ransom of Rs. 200 crores ($ 25 million) in cryptocurrency to restore the compromised servers.
PTI broke this news on Twitter as well. “Hackers have allegedly demanded around Rs 200 cr in cryptocurrency from AIIMS-Delhi as its server remains out of order for sixth consecutive day; patient care services in emergency, outpatient, impatient laboratory wings being managed manually: Sources.” It said.
Incidents of ransomware attacks and using cryptocurrency to receive dirty money seem pretty common.
CryptoPotato reported last month that US DOJ seized $22 million in BTC from 35-year-old Canadian citizen Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins who was involved in ransomware attacks. Vachon-Desjardins was also sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
In another incident last month, Brazil’s BRB Bank reportedly paid 50 BTC to hackers to retrieve locked sensitive data after it was stolen following a security breach.
Delhi Police Dispute Ransom Claim
A few hours after the PTI report, widely picked by Indian media outlets, Delhi Police clarified in a tweet that AIIMS authorities have not brought the demand for ransom to their notice.
“Some sections of the press are reporting that ransom has been demanded against the restoration of @aiims_newdelhi server. No such information brought to notice by AIIMS authorities. #DelhiPoliceUpdates,” Delhi Police tweeted.
Investigation and Restoration Efforts
India’s top investigating and IT response agencies, including National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and India Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), are investigating the incident and trying to restore the servers to work.
It’s feared that the hack has breached the data of 30-40 million patients. AIIMS is also the hospital where most government VIPs, including former Prime Ministers, are treated.
Meanwhile, patient care services are being managed manually in outpatient, inpatient, laboratory, and emergency departments. Located in the Indian capital New Delhi, AIIMS treats, on average, 12,000 new patients in the outpatient department every day. AIIMS has nearly 50 servers to run its operations, and all are down right now.
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