ROME (CNN) - Hackers have attacked and blocked an Italian Covid-19 vaccination booking system, a source from Italy’s cybercrime police said, marking the worst cyberattack the country’s health service has ever seen.
An investigation has been opened into the “very serious” attack on the IT system of the health department of Lazio, one of the most populated regions of Italy and home to capital Rome, according to a source from the Postal and Communications Police, which investigates cybercrime.
The attack by unknown perpetrators began, a statement from the regional health department said. The attack, according to investigators, is likely still ongoing.
Lazio regional health councillor Alessio D’Amato assured more than 500,000 citizens that had already booked their Covid-19 vaccines through August 13 would still be able to get their shot.
“The technicians are working to safely reactivate the new bookings and no data has been stolen,” D’Amato said in a post on the region’s official Facebook page.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, D’Amato added called the attack “the most serious cyber-attack ever carried out on an Italian public administration.”
Local authorities said they have received a generic ransom request but with no further claims.
The malware attack used a “crypto locker” to encrypt the files and block all the system’s activities, including the Covid-19 vaccine reservation center, the cybercrime source said.
Due to the type of attack, encrypted files could still be corrupted as the malware continues its spreads in the system, the investigative source told CNN.