May 14, 2021
Ireland's health service shuts its computer systems after major ransomware attack
This news has been received from: CBS News
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The Irish attack was blamed on international criminals and was said to be targeting healthcare records, but officials said patient safety wasn't at risk.
"We have taken the precaution of shutting down all our IT systems in order to protect them from this attack and to allow us (to) fully assess the situation with our own security partners," the Health Service Executive (HSE) said.
"We apologize for inconvenience caused to patients and to the public and will give further information as it becomes available," it added, stressing Ireland's coronavirus vaccination program was unaffected and "going ahead as planned".
Another ransomware attack last Friday forced the shutdown of the United States' largest fuel distribution system, leading to some panic buying and long lines at many gas stations in the Southeast. Some ran out of gas.
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HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the attack in Ireland was "an internationally operated criminal operation" and the authority was working with police, the army and its major IT security providers.
"We are at the very early stages of fully understanding the threat," he told Irish broadcaster RTE, adding it was trying to "contain" the issue.
The Reuters news service quotes him as telling RTE, "It's a very sophisticated attack, not just the standard attack. It is impacting all of our national and local systems that would be involved in all of our core services. The vaccination program continues thankfully, it's a separate system."
The Rotunda maternity hospital in Dublin said that "due to a serious IT issue" it was only admitting emergency cases and women who are at least 36 weeks pregnant.
Hospital chief Fergal Malone said the attack had targeted computers storing patient records.
Life-saving equipment is operating fine, "there's no problem for patient safety" and the hospital has switched to backup paper records, he told RTE.
"But obviously throughput will be much slower," he said, urging outpatients with routine appointments to stay away.
News Source: CBS News
Police Departments in Multiple Major Cities Wont Say If Gang Violence Is Increasing
Some police departments said the motive behind crimes isn’t always known while multiple others said they would not be able to provide any information unless a formal records request was submitted.
Over 1,600 violent crimes were recorded in 2021 and reported homicides were up 13% from last year in Washington, D.C., according to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). The MPD does not publicly report instances of gang-related activity or offenses.
“We have seen an increase in gun violence in our city. It is not known, in all cases, what the motive is behind the violence,” a D.C. MPD spokesperson told the DCNF Tuesday. “Nonetheless, MPD is working tirelessly and building upon relationships with the communities we serve to make them safer.”
Law enforcement officials are preparing for a potential increase in violent crime over the summer as COVID-19 restrictions ease and people emerge from their homes, according to The New York Times. Homicides in major cities increased by more than 30% last year and were up another 24% at the beginning of 2021, the Times reported.
Overall, crime fell over 20% during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic and violent crime including shootings and homicides rose during the summer of 2020, EconoFact reported on March 30. It was unclear whether the pandemic had a direct impact on the increase in violent crimes that coincided with lifted restrictions and a summer of civil unrest.
“We are seeing an uptick in violent crime across the country, specifically gun violence,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said, the Times reported. “People have been cooped up, they have been psychologically affected by this pandemic.”
Homicides in Los Angeles, California, rose 36%, from 258 to 351 in 2020, according to the Times. The LAPD would not say how many instances of gang-related offenses occurred without a formal records request submission and the most recent data available on their website is from April 2019.
Nearly 16,400 instances of gang-related crimes have occurred in Los Angeles, California, over the last three years, according to the LAPD. Offenses include nearly 500 homicides, more than 7,000 felony assaults and over 5,500 robberies.
More than 45,000 people belong to the region’s 450 gang organizations in Los Angeles County, known as the “gang capital of the nation,” according to the LAPD. Several of the groups have existed for over 50 years and focus on selling narcotics.
The Portland Police Bureau doesn’t track gang activity even though incidents of gang violence have increased in the Oregon city, the DCNF reported Thursday.
“In Portland, ‘gang violence’ is not a category of crime,” a department spokesperson told the DCNF Wednesday. “We investigate criminal activity. The terms ‘gang violence’ and ‘gang activity’ are phrases which could be variously defined.”
Around half of the 470 shooting incidents reported in 2021 were gang-related, police reportedly told the Associated Press on June 10. Homicides in Portland, Oregon, increased over 82% from 2020 to 2021, the Times reported.
The Austin, Texas, Police Department also would not release statistics or information regarding gang-related activity without a formal records request, a spokesperson told the DCNF Thursday.
“We have to adhere to the Public Information Act and cannot disclose specific stats and records without the request. The requests are tracked and data is recorded for the type of information being requested,” the Austin Police Department spokesperson said.
One person died and 13 others were injured after a shooting on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas, the Austin American-Statesman reported June 13. Two suspects were arrested in connection with the incident, one unidentified juvenile, and 17-year-old Jeremiah Roshaun Leland James Tabb, though their motive was unclear, according to the Austin Police Department.
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Kaylee Greenlee is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
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