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Amid cyber attack, AIIMS seeks a helping hand from DRDO

According to official sources, a meeting was conducted by the director of the institute, Dr M Srinivas, with all department heads, where it was decided that four servers will be purchased immediately to resume the functioning of the institute.

Patients were affected after the servers were down for the seventh consecutive day. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Amid a ransomware attack on the institute which has crippled services since Wednesday, AIIMS Delhi has decided to get four new servers from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) so it can resume its e-hospital facility for patients, said officials on Tuesday.

According to official sources, a meeting was conducted by the director of the institute, Dr M Srinivas, with all department heads, where it was decided that four servers will be purchased immediately to resume the functioning of the institute.

“The four servers will be used on an immediate basis for OPD, IPD and emergency ward of the institute. These four servers will help generate bills, UHID cards, lab reports,” said an official.

He added that the institute’s computer facility department along with other agencies are trying to retrieve the data from the existing servers, but it is possible some of it will be restored and transferred to the new servers. The four servers will be beneficial for new patients but perhaps not much for patients who are undergoing treatment at the institute.

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However, faculty members will still have to deal with not being able to retrieve e-library or using other websites, halting academic work. “This is set to impact the functioning of the faculty as there is research and reports of past patients for future references, which all the doctors used to revisit for retrospective analysis and teaching students. Downloading of such studies and research, data and case history will not be possible in the new server,” the official added.

“There are thousands of computers in the institute and the administration is trying to sanitise them all. An anti-virus system is also being installed. This will take almost a week. However, there is no assurance that the patient data and other material will be retrieved as well,” he added.

According to a senior doctor, it is not confirmed whether the four servers will be purchased or taken on loan from DRDO but the organisation is helping out the institute.

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Meanwhile, the AIIMS public relations officer said that the eHospital data has been restored on the servers. Network is being sanitised before the services can be restored. The process is taking some time due to the volume of data and large number of servers for hospital services…, he added.

Senior doctors said they have not been informed anything about the investigation process and are conducting all the medical work manually. “Had this been ministry or bank website, it would have been restored in a day or two,” said a resident doctor.

Sources in the Delhi Police said they are checking how the AIIMS server was hacked. “It is suspected that most of the data is gone and won’t be recovered soon,” said the officer.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 05:35 IST
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