Alarm system cyberattack leaves those in need struggling to call for help | Malware

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An alarm system company that allows those in need to ask for help at the touch of a button has suffered a cyberattack, causing serious disruption.

Tunstall Netherlands says the attack left the control room struggling to receive distress calls from clients on Sunday November 12, 2023.

Tunstall, among others, provides services and systems to allow smart monitoring in various healthcare settings. One of the services provides sick or disabled persons, and the elderly with an alarm button that can be used in case of an emergency.

Under normal circumstances, the control room would relay the distress call to a caregiver so they can check on and provide help.

The alarm button systems are used in situations where people that require care are not constantly surrounded by caregivers, like care homes that provide independent living, elderly who live at home but need the ability to call for help, and people with a heightened risk of falling.

It’s unknown what the exact nature of the cyberattack is. In case of a ransomware attack, it is unlikely that any group will claim responsibility or demand a ransom. These types of services are usually the type that they want to avoid for fear of repercussions.

Estimates say that tens of thousands of people are unable to reach the control room at the press of a button and will have to call an emergency number instead.

Tunstall says it’s worked hard to remediate the situation. It has engaged a specialized cybersecurity company to investigate the situation. Meanwhile it advised clients to keep their mobile phones handy so they can reach out in case of an emergency. At the moment the first services have been brought back online and the hope is that soon everything will be fully functional again.


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