A hospital cyber-attack – A look from within

The Hillel Yaffe Medical Center and the Government Hospitals Division held a conference aimed at sharing what was learned from the cyber-attack which the hospital experienced last October. The conference participants emphasized that the transparency regarding the issue is not self-understood, and the insights presented are extremely important

On Tuesday, June 14 2022, the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in association with the Government Hospitals Division, held a unique conference in which the hospital shared essential information regarding the October 2021 cyber-attack on the hospital’s information systems.


Around 400 people came to the conference, with the participation of the Minister of Health, Head of the Civil Service Commission, senior officials from the Civil Service Commission and Ministry of Finance, the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Health, the Mayor of Hadera, members of hospital administrations, health institutions, government and cyber bodies, and commercial companies.


At the conference, emceed by television presenter Sharon Kidon, the hospital showed with full transparency, various aspects of the cyber-attack it had undergone – administrative, operative, managerial, clinical, etc.


From right to left: Director of the Government Hospitals Division, Dr. Dudu Dagan; Director of Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Dr. Mickey Dudkiewicz; Minister of Health, Mr. Nitzan Horowitz, Mayor of Hadera, Mr. Nir Ben Haim; Administrative Director of Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Dr. Amnon Ben Moshe


The conference was opened by Minister of Health, Mr. Nitzan Horowitz, who praised the hospital for its behavior during the attack and how it had returned to normal operation in around one month – something not to be taken for granted and which demanded patience and excellent team work. The audience was then welcomed by Director of Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Dr. Mickey Dudkiewicz, and the Director of the Government Hospitals Division, Dr. Dudu Dagan, who each made sure to mention the organizational resilience and the important role played by the hospital employees and the division staff, and thanked the way many factors – both governmental and others – had harnessed themselves to the hospital’s recovery from the attack. Later, a movie was screened documenting the hospital during the time it was busy recovering from the attack.


During the panel at the end, the participants noted that the fact is important that the hospital, from the day of the attack, had decided to operate with transparency, both during and after the incident, and that various companies and bodies frequently prefer, for different reasons, to pay the ransom and not reveal that they have been subject to an attack, to forget about it, and bring the public to forget it. Such behavior has actually led to an increase in cyber-attacks in recent years, and the field of health, whose importance along with the understanding of its essentiality have increased following coronavirus (COVID-19), has been particularly affected. Everyone agreed that sharing knowledge greatly helps in the prevention of cyber-attacks and coping with similar incidents. In light of the estimate that cyber-attacks will only increase, in both frequency and strength, sharing insights, as Hillel Yaffe did, will greatly help in managing future attacks and recovery from them.

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