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Waikato health system hackers release information to media

Tanika Godbole
May 26, 2021

A group that hacked Waikato's health system has apparently released private records, documents, and information to media outlets. The media chose not to publish the information, referring the case to the police.

A man typing at a red keyboard. Nicolas Armer/dpa
Media outlets decided not to publish the classified documents.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/N. Armer

A group claiming responsibility for the Waikato District Health Board cyber attack has released private patient information, New Zealand media reported on Wednesday.

Media organizations said they had received emails with official looking documents, records, and phone numbers and addresses of patients and hospital employees on Tuesday night. Outlets decided not to report the information, and have referred the matter to the police. 

"A number of cyber security experts working with us and the police who are investigating and making sure all leads are followed," Waikato DHB chief executive Kevin Snee told Radio New Zealand.

Systems still affected

The cyber attack, which took place last week, targeted hospitals in New Zealand's Waikato District, on the northern island of New Zealand, just south of Auckland. Treatment of patients and payment of hospital staff was impacted; some services still remain affected.

Hospitals had switched to a manual system for the time being, to support a backlog of patients. The public has been asked to refer to alternative avenues of treatment for non-critical conditions. 

The Waikato government told the New Zealand Herald that it would not be paying ransom to the group of hackers, and added that a plan was in place in case the information was made public.

The attack comes soon after Ireland's health system was attacked by a group of international hackers. It is unclear whether the same group attacked Waikato's systems.