Psychiatric hospital near Jerusalem hit by suspected cyberattack

Staff at Eitanim switch to manual operations, while doctors continue medical treatment undisrupted

The Eitanim center on July 4, 2004 (Flash90)
The Eitanim center on July 4, 2004 (Flash90)

A suspected cyberattack hit the Eitanim psychiatric hospital near Jerusalem, forcing staff to switch to manual protocols, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

Medical treatments at the facility, a branch of the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center, have not been impacted by the disruption, the ministry said in a statement.

Handling of the matter was transferred from the ministry’s cyber team to the National Cyber Directorate, it said.

The statement did not elaborate on the scope of the damage caused by the disruption. It was not yet clear who was responsible for the suspected cyberattack.

Last month, hackers threatened to release sensitive medical information that they say they stole from Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak relating to politicians and rabbis — including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — unless they were paid a ransom of millions of dollars.

The hacker group, called Ranger Locker, targeted the hospital earlier in August, disrupting its computer system. Mayanei Hayeshua confirmed at the time that information leaked during that cyberattack. The statement said that the attack was “financially motivated” and the hospital would not negotiate with the hackers.

File: View of Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, April 13, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Ranger Locker is not known to be affiliated with any organization or state.

Hackers from the Iranian Black Shadow group targeted Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera in a 2021 ransomware attack.

Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point reported that year that Israeli institutions cope with twice as many cyberattacks as the average in other countries. Israel’s health sector alone endures an average of 1,443 attacks a week, according to the 2021 report by Check Point.

Education and research are the most heavily targeted sectors worldwide and in Israel, the report said, followed by government and security organizations, followed by health institutions.

In 2021, one in every 60 Israeli organizations or firms was targeted with a ransomware attack, an increase of 30 percent over the rate in 2020, Check Point said at the time.

Canaan Lidor contributed to this report.

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