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SickKids Hospital Takes Down Two Websites over Potential Unusual Activity

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Toronto’s SickKids hospital is facing another disruption as it had to take down two of its websites due to “potential unusual activity.” The largest pediatric hospital in Canada suffered a ransomware attack in mid-December and is still recovering from its effects. This new disruption is reportedly unrelated.

SickKids hospital has been going through a harsh few months from being overwhelmed with patients to falling victim to a ransomware attack. On December 18, the largest pediatric hospital in Canada was hit with ransomware that knocked out phone lines, shut down the staff payroll system, and delayed lab and imaging results. Now, due to “potential unusual activity,” the hospital had to shut down two of its websites.

Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion and the Specialty Food Shop websites were pre-emptively pulled down by SickKids as they suspected unusual activity. However, the hospital has stated that this incident is unrelated to the mid-December ransomware attack.

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iMedic, the software used by thousands of paramedics, was been hit by a potential cyberattack. Ontario paramedic services use this software to record patient data during calls but after it went offline, paramedics had to take notes by hand. SickKids also said it was working to bring its systems back online following the ransomware attack. At the time, it was said that the cyberattack did not interfere with patient care. “There is also no evidence thus far that any confidential information has been compromised or that there is a risk to local IT systems,” he added,” said Hamilton paramedics chief Michael Sanderson.

In the second week of December, it was reported that SickKids had to transfer two to eight patients on average each day because it didn’t specialize in the care that these patients required. This was one of the steps the hospital had to take under immense pressure owing to a surge in patients and staff shortages. In November, SickKids put some surgeries on hold and switched around some of the staff to provide critical care. As of mid-December last year, there were 6,157 children on the waiting list for various surgeries.

Vineet Washington


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