Patient records stolen during the HSE cyber attack could begin appearing online today, as the ransom deadline has passed.
The government said there is a real risk of sensitive, personal being disclosed online, with some experts speculating that data could be circulated over the coming years.
The government refused to pay the €20 million ransom in cryptocurrency demanded by hackers last week. The gang gave until today, Monday, for the payment to be transferred before data would be released.
“Work to identify the extent of any data taken from the HSE’s IT systems is ongoing as part of the process of repairing the systems,” said a statement from the government.
“The theft and disclosure of medical data would be a particularly despicable crime because it involves sensitive, personal information. Any public release of this data would be illegal.
“There is, sadly, is a real risk of patients’ data being abused in this way.”
The Government has appealed to anyone who may comes across this data online not to share it but instead to report it using the tools provided by platforms.
The HSE has obtained a High Court injunction requiring anyone in possession of stolen data not to disclose or trade in it. The National Cyber Security Centre is also engaging with international counterparts and industry in responding to this attack.
An Garda Siochana are investigating the crime in conjunction with national and international partners.
The Government urges anyone who has reason to suspect they are victims of this cyber-attack to make a report at their local Garda Station or through the Garda Confidential line. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 666 111.
People are also advised to be cautious of criminals taking advantage of fears around the HSE attack by contacting them to attempt to obtain information or payments. Any such attempts should be reported to An Garda Siochana.