Brazilian Ministry of Health website hit by hackers, immunization data targeted

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A man holds a laptop as a cybercode is projected on him in this illustrative photo taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS / Kacper Pempel / File Photo

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BRASILIA, December 10 (Reuters) – Brazil’s health ministry said its website was hit by a hacker attack on Friday that destroyed several systems, including one containing information about the national immunization program and another used to issue digital vaccination certificates.

The government has postponed for a week the implementation of new health requirements for travelers arriving in Brazil due to the attack.

“The Ministry of Health reports that in the early hours of Friday, it suffered an incident which temporarily compromised some of its systems (…) which are currently unavailable,” he said in a statement.

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Police said they were investigating the attack.

The suspected hackers, calling themselves Lapsus $ Group “posted a message on the website that the internal data had been copied and deleted.” Contact us if you want to recover the data, “he said in as part of an apparent ransomware attack.

The message, which included emails and Telegram contact information, had been deleted on Friday afternoon, but the webpage was still down, while user data for the ConectSUS app that provides Brazilians with certificates from vaccination had disappeared.

The ministry said it was working on restoring its systems. During a press conference, Deputy Health Minister Rodrigo Cruz said access to immunization data was still not recovered on Friday evening. Cruz said it was too early to tell if the data had been lost.

Under measures decided on Tuesday after President Jair Bolsonaro opposed the use of a vaccine passport, unvaccinated travelers arriving in Brazil will have to quarantine themselves for five days and be tested for COVID- 19.

The requirement was due to start on Saturday, but the government said it would be postponed for a week because immunization data was not available online after the attack.

COVID-19 tracing forms for arriving airline passengers were still available on health regulator Anvisa’s website, which was not targeted.

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Reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Gabriel Araujo and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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