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|22 March, 2019

Probe begins in Bahrain after data network crashes

The King Hamad University Hospital, the government hospital managed by the BDF, was also taking proactive measures to protect their network.

Midsection Of Business People Discussing Paperwork At Desk

Midsection Of Business People Discussing Paperwork At Desk

Getty Images/ Suwat Supachavinswad / EyeEm

Bahrain - Authorities were yesterday investigating after national data network at a major Bahrain hospital crashed, it has emerged.

After the digital system crash, staff at the BDF Hospital apparently had to resort to manual administrative procedures for all processes, including admissions at the emergency department and even surgeries.

The King Hamad University Hospital (KHUH), the government hospital managed by the BDF, was also taking proactive measures to protect their network.

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The hospital on Wednesday night sent out internal emails to staff members alerting them of the crisis.

In an “urgent and critical” warning it also pointed out “several” Bahraini government organisations connected to the government data network were under “heavy and serious” attacks with “computer viruses and Ransomwares”.

“These attacks, if successful, will lead to serious breach of information, loss of business continuity, systems shutdowns and outages, malicious damage or exposure of critical citizen and expat information,” said the communication.

The message urged staff to change passwords of emails to stronger ones, not to share it with anyone inside or outside the hospital, not to open any attachments unless sure of the source, not to plug in external devices including USBs or hard discs into hospital systems, not to use personal computers without necessary precaution and finally, to report any security issues to the ICT (information and communication technology) desk immediately.

A strict ban has also been placed temporarily on HOPE, the e-services software at KHUH, being connected to any outside sources, until the issue is resolved.

Meanwhile, the BDF Hospital on its Twitter account earlier yesterday posted an apology announcing the cancellation of all appointments.

“Disclaimer and apology for all special medical patients to cancel all appointments for this day Thursday, March 21, 2019, for the reason of an emergency in the military hospital,” it said.

“Our systems were down and the IT department is working on it,” said a BDF Hospital representative.

“We have no information on the reasons behind the problem.

“We hope that the systems will be resumed at the earliest, even within a day,” he added.

Sources at the BDF Hospital said emergency services were “partially hit” while “some of the surgeries” were ongoing.

“Ever since the crash, as we are told, systems have been down and all procedures including admissions and staff allocation are being done manually,” said the source.

“Emergency services were partially hit, which obviously would affect the hospital functioning, as we have a large number of patients at any given time.

“So definitely, it is not all smooth and some surgeries that are important are going on.

“There will be risks and we are sure authorities are working on it to resolve.”

Other sources said that it could take at least three to four days to resume, however this could not be confirmed officially.

An official comment from the BDF hospital is awaited while KHUH could not be reached for comment.

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