Conti ransomware, well-known to cyber researchers and listed by the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky as number two on its list of top ransomware groups hit Ireland’s health care system on Friday. At least two major maternity hospitals said their computer systems were significantly affected. Ireland’s Health Service executive said it had taken many of its major IT systems offline as a precaution. Some hospitals had to revert to paper systems for administration. Medical equipment was not impacted and care was being given as normal. “All patients in the hospital are safe, all care is being provided,” Fergal Malone, the head of the Rotunda maternity hospital, said.The health service had requested help from Ireland’s national cybersecurity advisory team and the police and military were also assisting.
Conti has undergone rapid development since its discovery and is known for the speed at which it encrypts and deploys across a target system. Conti is a human-operated. Conti is a so-called “double extortion” ransomware, which means that as well as locking victims out of their systems, the malware also steals data, which the criminals then threaten to release if they are not paid. Attacks by this malware are particularly damaging due to the speed with which it encrypts data and spreads to other systems.Conti accounted for 13% of all ransomware attacks from late 2019 through 2020. The Conti gang says it has received several million dollars in ransom from at least 150 organizations.