Categories
Security

Ireland refuses to pay ransom demand in attack on its national health service

Ireland’s health service, the HSE, shut down all of its IT systems on Friday following a “significant” ransomware attack which has disrupted COVID-19 testing and other patient services, the BBC reports. The country’s COVID-19 vaccination program does not appear to have been affected.

A government official tells news station RTE that an international cyber criminal group is responsible for the attack. “This is not espionage. It was an international attack, but this is just a cyber criminal gang looking for money,” says Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment Ossian Smyth.

Micheál Martin, the country’s Taoiseach (prime minister), says Ireland will not be paying any ransom.

According to the Financial Times, the government received a ransom demand to be paid in bitcoin. The attack appeared to affect data stored on the health system’s central servers, reports RTE, but it did not appear any patient data was compromised.

The HSE tweeted yesterday that it had taken down its IT systems as a precaution to protect them from the attack.

The attack had a severe impact on the country’s health and social care services on Friday, but emergency services continued to operate normally, according to health minister Stephen Donnelly. He reiterated that Ireland’s COVID vaccinations were continuing as planned.

The Ireland attack comes less than a week after a similar incident at Colonial Pipeline, which took one of the largest fuel pipelines in the US offline. The company reportedly paid a nearly $5 million ransom to the attackers in that instance, to get its systems back online.



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Categories
Game

Valve refuses Apple’s “narrow” data request in battle VS Epic

In an ongoing legal battle VS Epic, Apple’s requested that non-party Valve deliver a series of data points. Apple’s suggestion is that the biggest competitor to Epic’s “Epic Games Store” is Valve’s game store Steam. Apple’s lawyers suggest that their “request is very narrow”, while Valve’s lawyers suggest “Apple wrongly claims those requests are narrow. They are not.”

Per the document released this week, Valve’s council suggests that they’ve produced documents on revenue share, competition with Epic, Steam distribution contracts, “and other documents.” Valve suggested that Apple demanded that they “(i) recreate six years’ worth of PC game and item sales for hundreds of third party video games, then (ii) produce a massive amount of confidential information about these games and Valve’s revenues.”

Valve suggested that Apple sent a list of 436 games that appear in both the Epic Games Store and Steam. They then went on, wrote Valve, to demand that “Valve identify, from 2015 to the present, every version and all digital content or items for each of these games on Steam, then (b) provide exhaustive information about all of them, including [the following]”.

The list of requests on games included:
• Sale dates, prices and price changes from 2015 to the present.
• Gross revenue for each game, version, and item, “broken down individually.”
• “All of Valve’s revenues related to these versions, content and items.”

Valve argued that Apple could get the same information from Samsung about Samsung’s app store with far less effort by Samsung because Samsung has this information on-hand. Because Samsung is a public company, wrote Valve, they keep “detailed financial and operational information.” Valve does not have this information easily and/or readily available, so they’ve suggested.

“Valve does not in the ordinary course of business keep the information Apple seeks for a simple reason: Valve doesn’t need it.” Valve also pointed to an earlier point in Apple’s battle with Epic in which Apple’s lawyers suggested that the market relevant to this case included “competing platforms on which Fortnite is distributed and monetized.” (Case No. 20-cv-05640-YGR) (Dkt. 118 at 16).

It’ll be interesting to see if Apple is able to compel the court to demand Valve provide the full scope of information outlined in documentation from the court this week. To see more information on this latest document filed this week, see Case 4:20-cv-05640-YGR Document 346 Filed 02/18/21 with the United States District Court in the Northern District of California, Oakland Division.

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