HSE laptops and phones stolen from senior IT officer
Break-in aided by scaffolding took place at Dr Steevens’ Hospital in Dublin this month
Tony O’Brien, Director of the HSE, was informed of the burglary on the morning of the incident. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
Thieves broke into the offices of the Health Service Executive’s most senior IT officer earlier this month and stole three laptops and two mobile phones, it has been confirmed.
While the executive said the equipment was strongly encrypted and password protected, the break-in at offices occupied by chief information officer Richard Corbridge may be viewed as an embarrassing lapse in security.
Mr Corbridge heads the eHealth Ireland division of the HSE and is also in overall charge of the organisation’s information systems and security.
He is responsible for the roll out of new technology and is championing hi-tech solutions for healthcare in the State.
The HSE said the burglary, which appears to have been facilitated by scaffolding erected around the building at the time, occurred after business hours on February 13th and that it was reported to gardaí.
In response to questions from The Irish Times, the HSE said the office building has “24/7” security.
It said those involved “entered a number of offices within the office of the CIO” and that some IT equipment was stolen.
“Three laptops and two mobile phones were stolen. One of the laptops was broken and did not contain a hard drive. The other two laptops were encrypted and password protected . One of the mobile phones was new and had not yet been activated, while the other was an old phone,” the HSE said.
It added that while there was some corporate information on one of the laptops, the computer was “encrypted and password protected to a very high standard, i.e. AES256”.
Asked whether there was any reason to believe there had been a data breach involving the personal data of staff, HSE clients or members of the public, the executive said none of the items stolen contained any such personal information and that all were encrypted and password protected.
It said Mr Corbridge and his staff became aware of the burglary on the morning of February 14th and that he informed HSE director general Tony O’Brien of the burglary that morning.
The intrusion occurred at a side of the building where scaffolding had been erected and this had now been secured, according to the executive.
It said it was too early to indicate the costs incurred, but that there was no material damage to the premises.
The eHealth Ireland website says the office of the chief information officer is “going through significant change as it re-structures to reflect the way in which healthcare is delivered and begins the journey to change how it is considered by clinicians, patients and the public”.
A Garda spokeswoman confirmed gardaí were investigating a burglary on February 14th at a premises on Steevens Lane, Dublin 8.
“No arrests have been made and investigations ongoing.”