Medical facility contacted Irish patient whose details were put on ‘dark web’, Dáil told

Labour leader warns of ‘big problem’ after man was offered procedure by organisation outside State

The Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau and National Cyber Security Centre are working to ensure health services are restored, the Taoiseach said

The Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau and National Cyber Security Centre are working to ensure health services are restored, the Taoiseach said

 

A medical organisation from outside the State contacted a patient whose details were released on the “dark web” offering to provide the procedure he required, the Dáil has heard.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said that “one of my local GPs was in touch. One of his patients was contacted by a medical organisation from outside the State with all his details as regards a procedure he needed, medical history”.

Mr Kelly said the organisation knew exactly what he required and offered in a short period of time to provide the operation he needed because he could not get it as a public patient for a certain period of time.

The Tipperary TD said the family contacted their GP and the Garda, and the GP contacted the Garda as well.

He warned that if this is happening across the country “we have a big problem”.

Mr Kelly said the Financial Times also reported 27 files of 12 people that included lab results and permission records had been published on the dark web.

Mr Kelly asked what people are meant to do and called for a clear outline of the procedure to follow.

Raising the issue on Leaders’ Questions he also called for two helplines – one for the public and a second one for the staff of the HSE – to deal with personal concerns.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told Labour leader this [the contacting of a patient] was a “despicable thing to do, to engage in theft of people’s medical records”.

He stressed, however, that “we cannot become engaged in rewarding this type of criminality”.

He also said there were limitations to the degree of public comment he would make because of the interest of cyber criminals in the Government’s response.

Mr Martin said “we have to be very clear that people should contact the gardaí if such situations happen”.

There is a Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau and the National Cyber Security Centre are working to ensure services are restored, in co-operation with specialist private contractors, he said.

The Taoiseach said they were working to restore services and the HSE is providing ongoing updates on its website.

But Mr Kelly said that “as regards public comfort there isn’t enough information” being given. He called for some sort of clarity this week as to when this issue would be resolved and services resumed.

Mr Martin said the Labour leader having previously worked in IT knew that he could not give such clarity.

The Taoiseach said hundreds of people were working to restore services and that if people “are contacted as your constituent was they should contact their GP and the gardaí”.