[ISN] Hospital computer failure could be hackers, board told

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Oct 28 04:37:15 EDT 2004



Hackers may have been responsible for a major computer failure at
Waikato Hospital two weeks ago.

It was the longest unplanned blackout of the Waikato Health Board's
core computer systems and the worst reported to Hewlett Packard -- the
company that sold the computers -- in the Asia-Pacific region.

Technicians from Australia and Waikato Hospital have identified
possible causes ranging from hackers through to a failure of the
embedded software that instructs the electronic components how to
process commands.

Health board staff across the region were forced to handwrite patient
information and staff had their wages delayed after the computer
system failure took the payroll and patient management systems down
for 34 hours.

No patient records were lost and the handwritten records have been
entered into the system.

The systems were stored on new servers thought to have a 99 per cent
resistance to technical faults.

Board chief executive Jan White told a board meeting yesterday it was
difficult to find the cause of the fault because it was such a rare

It was important the fault was found so future breakdowns could be

"It's still a major issue for us and until we get a diagnosis, it
still has a major impact on where we should be going with our
systems," she said.

Independent computer experts were to be hired to review the computer
systems to make sure nothing had been overlooked.

"We have to be aware that we may never find the fault, but we do need
an independent view," Dr White said.

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