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Tusla restores main childcare information database in ‘major improvement’ after cyberattack


Tusla has confirmed that the National Child Care Information System (NCCIS) was turned back on in test mode overnight.

he child and family agency said this was a “game changer” in terms of getting their systems back up and running after the cyberattack on the HSE also saw their IT system crippled.

Tusla said they anticipate a full restoration of this “critical system” in the coming days and said it was a “major step in the recovery from the recent cyberattack on HSE systems”.

Tusla’s systems were almost completely shut down as they were housed within the HSE’s IT infrastructure and last night’s breakthrough means that its main database is retrievable, despite being “badly damaged”.

“This database was badly damaged in the encryption, sudden shutdown and decryption process combined. It took enormous skill, hours, and dedication from many to restore it. We have a long way to go and are still having to take referrals by phone. Our email is problematic in some places but restoring NCCIS is a real game changer,” Bernard Gloster, CEO, Tusla said.

Disruptions are still widespread within the HSE due to the May 14 attack that paralysed most of the health service and reduced it to emergency and critical care only.

Recently, the Saolta Hospital Group, which operates hospitals in the West and Northwest of the country, urged patients to explore all treatment options before presenting at a hospital such was the pressure their hospitals were under due to the cyberattack.

Operations at many children’s hospitals in the capital also had to be reduced to essential services due to the effect of the attack in recent weeks.

The hackers behind the ransomware attack, believed to be operating from St Petersburg in Russia, eventually handed over the decryption key to unlock the encrypted files and databases. Government and HSE officials said no ransom was paid and no negotiations took place with the hackers.

Even with the decryption key, it will take cyber experts from the National Cyber Security Centre and other agencies numerous weeks to restore the HSE’s IT systems.

Tusla continues to urge anyone with a concern about a child to contact their local duty social work office. Details are available on Tusla.ie.

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