The Information Systems Authority (RIA) confirmed to daily Eesti Päevaleht that there has been at least one instance of an institution offering health care services paying money to digital hijackers to get a database back.
The case had involved a cyberattack on the database of a medical institution, Päevaleht wrote on Monday. In these cases, databases are encrypted by digital hijackers who then demand money in exchange for decrypting the information again.
The provider in question did get their database back, the paper wrote, though it quoted RIA as saying that responding to blackmail this way was dangerous in any case, as there was never any guarantee that the hijackers would actually give back the database.
After the incident the digital security measures at the provider in question were improved, but the matter took several days to resolve, which significantly impeded the work of everyone affected.
Though RIA doesn't make the details of cases like this one public, tech news portal Geenius.ee speculated that this specific incident probably involved a smaller doctor's practice without the necessary knowledge to avoid cyberattacks.
Smaller providers such as general practitioners often had difficulties developing their IT and cyber capabilities, Päevaleht quoted a RIA official.
In an average doctor's practice there were no requirements to cyber security, and the matter was typically dealt with according to the knowledge at hand. In Estonia's medical services budgets concentrated on the provision of the core services, there often was no money allocated to security.
According to RIA, the general state of IT at Estonian hospitals is poor, and that over the last two years there have been 61 cyber security incidents, 35 of which were classified as serious.
Editor: Dario Cavegn