AIIMS Delhi hit by a new malware attack, second instance in less than a year

A round of fresh cyberattacks targeted the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi on Monday this week. Thankfully, cyber security systems at the prestigious medical institution successfully detected and prevented the malware attack to take effect and steal data, and also neutralised the threat promptly.

According to a tweet from AIIMS, their cyber-security systems identified a malware attack at 2:50 PM in New Delhi. Fortunately, their deployed cyber-security systems effectively thwarted the attempt and neutralised the threat.

A malware attack was detected at 1450 hrs by the cyber-security systems in AIIMS, New Delhi
The attempt was successfully thwarted, and the threat was neutralised by the deployed cyber-security systems. The eHospital services remain to be fully secure and are functioning normally

— AIIMS, New Delhi (@aiims_newdelhi) June 6, 2023

Last year’s attack
This marks the second cyberattack on AIIMS Delhi within a year, as the renowned medical institute previously experienced service disruptions due to a cyberattack in November 2022. The attack caused the medical institute’s servers to malfunction, leading to the suspension of two analysts over alleged breaches of cyber security.

The attack had a severe impact on various digital services provided by the hospital, such as outpatient and inpatient services, including the smart lab, billing systems, report generation, and appointment systems.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police promptly registered a case of extortion and cyber terrorism on November 25, 2022. This demonstrates the seriousness with which the authorities approached the incident and their determination to investigate and address the cyberattack.

As a result of the cyberattack, internet services at the hospital remained blocked for several days. The Delhi Police collaborated with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to investigate the incident. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) also provided assistance to the investigative agencies involved in the case.

In response to the latest incident gaining attention on Twitter, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, clarified that no cyber incident or breach had occurred.

E-Hospital is an internal application not available for internet users.

Someone may have tried accessing this portal and alert generated due to security layer used by AIIMS. Same person may have taken a screenshot of error msg and circulated it.

There is no cyberincident or…

— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) June 6, 2023

Suspected China-link?
During the investigation into the first cyberattack on AIIMS, it was discovered that the servers utilized in the attack were possibly located in China and Hong Kong. In response to this finding, Delhi authorities wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), urging them to gather additional information from Interpol.

The reports further highlighted that AIIMS was not the sole target of these cyberattacks. Other prestigious institutions also faced similar attempts on their servers.

One notable incident involved the website of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which reportedly encountered approximately 6,000 hacking attempts. Fortunately, the hackers were unsuccessful in breaching the ICMR’s website. This underscores the significance of robust security measures in place to safeguard sensitive information and systems.

It is suspected that this attack also originated from either China or Hong Kong, although there is no such official statement as of yet.

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