STA, 7 August 2019 - Slovenia's largest pharmacy chain, Lekarna Ljubljana, was the target of a ransomware attack on Monday, which temporarily incapacitated its information system and forced the chain to close for business.
After being closed throughout Tuesday due to the problem, the pharmacies reopened on Wednesday but they have so far been able to issue prescription drugs based on paper prescriptions only.
The city-owned chain said that the information system would be restored shortly, so the units are expected to be able to start issuing prescription medications normally later today both for those prescribed on paper and in electronic form.
No further details are available at this point, but Lekarna Ljubljana said that the incident had been reported to the law enforcement authorities.
The Ljubljana Police Department confirmed receiving notification about the system breach from Lekarna Ljubljana, saying they were still making enquiries.
According to information from the Health Ministry, the attack affected the pharmacy chain's local information system, which is not connected to the national e-Health system.
Tadej Hren from the national cybersecurity centre SI-CERT said that the investigation would pinpoint where exactly the breach occurred and what kind of data the hackers had been able to access.
Ransom crypto viruses encrypt all user data files they are able to access. This type of attacks have been common in Slovenia since 2012.
Hren said that in all the cases they dealt with the victims had been picked randomly as part of a wider hacking campaign. The ransom for a decryption key in such cases ranges from EUR 1,000 to EUR 2,000.
In the past year SI-CERT has also been detecting more sophisticated attacks on large companies or institutions, which involve spy viruses which detect the scope of the damage that can be caused before a cryptovirus encrypts everything the hackers can access.
Information available to SI-CERT indicates the attack on Lekarna Ljubljana was likely a more sophisticated one because it is not believed to have been part of a larger campaign.
Lekarna Ljubljana operates more than 50 pharmacies in the capital Ljubljana and other towns, including Grosuplje, Ivančna Gorica, Idrija, Logatec, Vrhnika, Borovnica and Velike Lašče.
Prescription drugs have been issued normally at 14 private pharmacies with concession operating in Ljubljana.
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