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Wednesday, 23 December 2020 09:31

NSW Health among users of compromised network management tool Featured

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NSW Health among users of compromised network management tool Pixabay

The NSW Department of Health, a user of the Orion network management software that was compromised in a supply chain attack, says it was alerted on 14 December to the fact that an attack had taken place.

"To date, there has been no evidence found that NSW Health systems have been compromised and no evidence there has been any breach of patient information," an eHealth NSW spokesperson told iTWire in response to a query.

The attack came to light this month when cyber security firm FireEye announced on 9 December AEDT that it had been compromised and had its Red Team tools stolen.

Five days later, FireEye issued details about attacks using malware which it called SUNBURST, which it said had been used to hit both private and public entities, by corrupting the Orion network management software, a product of SolarWinds.

A number of US Government departments — Homeland Security and Treasury among them — have been named as being affected. FireEye, too, appears to have been a victim. The Orion software has very wide usage in the US and also in Britain.

The extent of its use in Australia is unclear, but the NSW Department of Health was named in a research brief issued by Fabio Viggani of the security firm TrueSec.

The brief also named Cisco, Deloitte and MediaTek as being targeted by the threat actor.

The spokesperson said: "The SolarWinds monitoring system is used by many organisations including NSW Health. It collects statistics and events at regular intervals to provide dashboarding, alerting and reporting functionality across our network.

"eHealth NSW can confirm that it has received the necessary updates from the vendor to ensure ongoing protection of its services.

"NSW Health continues to work closely with state and Federal Government cyber security agencies to ensure that any cyber event is prevented, detected and responded to in the most appropriate manner."

Though about 18,000 users of Orion were said to have received the compromised update, which was the first stage of the attack, it is unclear as how many were targeted in phase two.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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