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COSTA RICA'S LEADING ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER

Hacking of Costa Rican Social Security Fund Affects Hospital

The Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) was hacked yet again in the early hours of Tuesday, May 31. The authorities reported that this forced them to deactivate the entity’s computer systems as a preventive measure, which has caused several problems in hospitals, clinics and Ebais.

According to the Social Security Fund, the deactivation of the Single Digital Health Record (EDUS) was required.

The first report of problems came from the San Vicente de Paúl Hospital, in Heredia, because there was information in the patient files that appeared empty. In that moment, personnel in charge identified the attack and ordered the immediate disconnection of all systems. Apparently, the IP addresses identified suggested the attackers were not in Costa Rica.

Unfortunately, this incident will cause delays, but hospital workers assured that they are doing their best to guarantee patients care. The caregivers will switch from digital to physical records to provide the service.

Roberto Blanco Topping, Director of the Directorate of Information Technologies and Communications, assured in a press release that the EDUS, the Centralized Collection System (Sicere), payroll and pensions databases were not affected by the cyber-attack.

According to the press release, the institution’s technical teams are working to try to restore critical services; although it is not yet possible to say when they will be back in operation.

“We are working with the entire specialized team to determine our plan and how to repair critical systems,” Roberto Blanco explained.

Predictably, some patients and officials confirmed difficulties in services in the early hours of this morning, especially as health centers have had to resort to the use of paper files to ensure scheduled medical attention.

“We have all the equipment turned off, as instructed by DTIC-CCSS. Attention continues for now with physical records, which we will later digitalize. We are awaiting instructions from the central level,” said the director of the National Children’s Hospital, Olga Arguedas.

Doctors at The Costa Rican Social Security Fund asks people to be patient, as this situation is beyond their control and they’re trying to work as efficiently as possible.

“The message to our patients is to please understand that this is an emergency situation and, therefore, many of their procedures will be delayed. Likewise, we cannot use the platforms we use for patient ordering in emergency care,” Edgar Carillo, director of the San Carlos Hospital noted.

The Costa Rican Social Security Fund will further elaborate on the evolution of this situation when more information is available.

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