June 9, 2020 / 6:35 AM / a month ago

South Africa's Life Healthcare hit by cyber attack

(Reuters) - South Africa’s Life Healthcare said on Tuesday its southern African operation was hit by a cyber attack affecting its admissions systems, business processing systems and email servers, but is yet to determine the extent to which data has been compromised.

The hospital operator said its patient care was not impacted and an investigation into the incident is underway.

Southern Africa is Life Healthcare’s biggest market that includes Botswana.

The company said its hospitals and administrative offices continue to function with some delays, after having switched to backup systems.

“We are deeply disappointed and saddened that criminals would attack our facilities during such a time, when we are all working tirelessly and collectively to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pieter Van der Westhuizen, acting group CEO said.

Life Healthcare is the third major South African company that has been targeted by hackers this year.

Nedbank in February warned that information of about 1.7 million clients were potentially affected by a data breach, and the following month chemicals and fertiliser maker Omnia Holdings said its IT infrastructure was subject to a cyberattack.

Last year, hackers shut down the cyber network of Johannesburg City Council, targeting computers of local government employees in South Africa’s economic hub.

Late last month, Life Healthcare reported a 2.2% jump in first-half normalised core profit at 2.73 billion rand ($185 million).

Reporting by Aniruddha Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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