AIIMS continues silence on media reports of ₹200-crore demand by hackers

Patients are seen waiting outside the AIIMS Pediatric Emergency ward, even as servers remained down for over six days. Hackers have allegedly demands a ransom of ₹200 crore in crypto currency from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, in Delhi on November 29, 2022.
| Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The services at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the national capital were carried out manually for the seventh consecutive day on Tuesday, after the hospital last week said its server might have been subjected to a ransomware attack.

“The eHospital data has been restored on the servers. Network is being sanitised before the services can be restored. The process is taking some time due to the volume of data and large number of servers/computers for the hospital services. All hospital services, including outpatient, in-patient, laboratories, etc. continue to run on manual mode,” the hospital said in a statement.

But the AIIMS spokesperson did not confirm or deny media reports that the hackers had allegedly demanded an estimated ₹200 crore in cryptocurrency from the hospital.

A senior officer at the Delhi Police Cyber Cell said an investigation was under way and they were examining the AIIMS website apart from checking the database. He said measures would be taken to maintain cybersecurity. However, it was a time-taking process, considering the large volume of data on the website.

Last Wednesday, AIIMS said the National Informatics Centre (NIC) team working at the institute had informed that the servers were down and that it might be ransomware attack.

On Thursday, Prashant Gautam, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations (IFSO), said they received information regarding the ransomware attack on the AIIMS server and on that basis, a first information report under Section 385 (Putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) of the Indian Panel Code and Section 66/66F of the IT Act pertaining to computer-related offences, had been lodged with the IFSO against unknown persons.

There were long queues at the hospital on the first day of the attack as the server was down since morning. Though the situation got better, patients still had to spend more time in queues, according to doctors and nurses.

A doctor working at the hospital said that on the first day of the attack there was a lot of chaos and confusion, but the situation was better now. The doctor said earlier appointments could be done online, but now it had to be done manually. “We are working extra hard to make sure that patients are not facing much difficulty,” the doctor said.

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