A major healthcare institution in Norway has reported that hackers stole large amounts of important data as a result of a recent cyberattack. The hackers have not been identified but are believed to be professionals who used advanced techniques to get the job done.
Most hackers use their talents for personal financial gain or simply to cause a bit of chaos, but every now and again cybercriminals have more heinous things in mind. Case in point, a major healthcare institution in Norway just recently came under attack and had large amounts of important data stolen by hackers. The institution is known as Health South-East RHF and manages hospitals across the southeastern regions of Norway, including the capital of Oslo.
According to reports, the data of 2.9 million patients was stolen as a result of the attack, which could lead to very serious ramifications in the future. The population of Norway currently sits at only around 5,35 million people so more than half of the country’s population could now be at risk. Health South-East RHF was notified about the hack earlier this week by HelseCERT, Norway’s national healthcare security department upon noticing malicious activity against computers in the southeastern region.
It’s unclear at this time if this was the work of an individual or a group of hackers, though the second option seems more viable given the scale of the attack. Either way, security experts believe that they are dealing with professional hackers who used advanced techniques to infiltrate the system. Needless to say, the situation is considered to be very serious given the large amount of compromised data. As a result, some of the best security experts are currently analyzing all available data and trying to come up with ways of minimizing the damage.
A bit of good news comes from the fact that patients don’t seem to be at risk, at least not at the moment. This is according to Health South-East RHF CEO Cathrine M Lofthus who emphasized that this was a serious data breach but that it will not affect patient treatment or safety in any way. She did note, however, that it is too early to say for certain at this point. The hackers definitely have the upper hand in this situation but have not yet used the stolen data for any malicious purposes as far as authorities can tell.
Meanwhile, Director of the National Security Authority Kjetil Nilsen doesn’t exclude the possibility that the data could be used for cyber espionage. Nilsen isn’t pointing any fingers at anyone just yet, but given that not a lot is known about the hackers, all options seem to be on the table. Foreign governments could potentially benefit from having access to the stolen data so it’s possible that the hackers may plan to sell it to a third-party, though that’s just speculation at this point.