Serious Cyber-attack Targets Brno University Hospital

The attack has crippled computer systems and seriously reduced the capacity of the University Hospital in Bohunice. Although basic functions continue, staff cannot access patient records or test results. Photo credit: KK / Brno Daily.

Brno, Mar 13 (BD) – The attack began at around 2am last night, and seriously damaged the hospital’s computer systems. The story was first reported by, and confirmed by Prime Minister Andrej Babis. Quoted by Czech Television, hospital director Jaroslav Sterba summarised the current situation: “The hospital has probably been the target of a hacking attack. Some computer systems are limited, but the hospital is continuing to function at a basic level, and patient care, including acute cases, is being maintained. We have been forced to postpone some scheduled operations.” He added that dozens of operations have been affected by the attack so far.   

Staff are not allowed to switch on computers and so are unable to access patients’ data, seriously reducing the capacity of the hospital. Although doctors are able to examine patients, they cannot access test results. Experts from the National Office for Cyber ​​and Information Security are on the scene at the hospital. “It seems that it will be possible to identify both the agent and the type of virus,” said Sterba. The attack also affected the University Hospital’s other facilities, the Children’s Hospital and the Maternity Hospital on Obilni Trh. 

Other hospitals in Brno are ready to take in the hospital’s patients. Emergency services are mainly taking patients with emergency problems to St. Anne’s University Hospital, or to other hospitals in Brno and the South Moravian Region. In order to cope with the influx, St. Anne’s Hospital has also postponed scheduled operations. “We have also significantly enhanced services at selected departments and clinics until further notice,” said Dana Lipovska, a spokeswoman for St. Anne’s. According to the Mayor of Brno, Marketa Vankova (ODS), both municipal hospitals – the Trauma Hospital and the Hospital of the Merciful Brothers – are also prepared to receive patients if necessary.

The University Hospital is South Moravia’s primary facility both for coronavirus inpatients, and the analysis and testing of samples in suspected coronavirus cases. Although it was initially suggested that samples would be sent to Ostrava as a result of the attack, according to Sterba it is still possible to process them in Brno. 

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