MoH – Nothing to see here, move along at Waikato DHB

The MoH is taking an ostrich approach to the ongoing computer outage at Waikato DHB.? My sources tell me that the systems are still down and that staff are looking at having to have 3000 PC?s to be re-imaged by Jan 5th I reckon.

And as for the MOH guy, if no one got fired I guess it?s just coincidental that there were so many MOH IT middle manager and Ops roles on between Feb and May then.

So here we go, round two of the nothing-to-see-here nobody-is-to-blamefest at the Waikato DHB.

In the latest installment they?ve brought in the big guns (and by this I mean kinda more like the sawn off air rifle that was in last week rather than anything useful or impressive).?? Alan Hesketh, he of the MOH debacle this time last year is now involved and letting the media know it?s under control and just one of those things.? He?s kinda like the IT version of Santa, showing up every Christmas and dispensing get out of jail free cards to all involved.

The first of his gems is:

?Alan Hesketh, the Health Ministry’s deputy director general of health information directorate, said the virus attack was believed to have been random, and part of the ongoing appearance of “Malware” (malicious software) in the digital world?

It?s a crazy bad digital world we live in, I get it.? His statement contains some truth, there ARE malicious bad things out there and they ARE randomly and specifically trying to get in through the chimney and rampage through your shit.? However that?s why we actually have things such as firewalls, antivirus software and regular patching of software.? The maintenance, administration and regular updating and checking of these are responsibilities that those in IT are burdened with in order to minimise this risk.? If you do your job properly you may still get hit, but it is a lot less likely and at least you will deserve the salary you get paid.

What occurred at MOH and again here at WDHB is a failure of these processes, these are not zero day attacks with brand new security exploits, these are incidents involving malicious software for which patches and antivirus files have existed for a very long time.? It equates to not wearing a seatbelt and then blaming your injuries in a nose to tail accident on there being a lot of cars out there.? What Mr Hesketh and the CIO at the WDHB seem to be glossing over and ignoring? is that basic precautions were not taken and a DHB is now operating at 10% efficiency for the Christmas period. But hey it?s not busy around this time is it?

I really feel for the operations staff having to spend Christmas cleaning up this mess.? It?s not a simple process to remove and when it is, it likely leaves a Swiss cheese mess of Windows so that conficker and it?s ilk can get back in very easily.? Realistically the majority of infected PC?s will need to be wiped, reimaged and patched.? That?s a few hours work right there.

?Although the Waikato DHB had successfully defended against these attacks in its usual day-to-day operation, its IT system was undergoing an extensive upgrade when the virus got in.?

An IT environment is not an immune system, work in one area will not weaken the framework of another.?? I can say that in my entire career that I?ve never done any form of systems upgrade that removed the threat protection from the rest of the network, either before, during or after said upgrade.? If he is saying that this is a mitigating reason then? he really needs to be a bit more forthcoming on what on earth were they upgrading for this to make sense.??? Currently there?s nothing in the DHB?s strategic project list for IT that would validate this statement.?? As it stands it?s yet another bunch of misleading gibberish.

?Although all health boards’ computer systems were connected, there were no reports of the Conficker virus attacking other IT systems.?

Fancy that, perhaps because they are diligent in their responsibilities or even if lax, paid attention to the MOH disaster and take relevant precautions.? If there is a high five to be given it?s to the WAN Administrators of the other DHB?s who obviously put an effective lockdown on all links between them and the WDHB in a timely manner.

The numpty Alan Hesketh needs an education into how to properly engage in Social Media and blogging and to stop telling lies when numerous people can prove him wrong on so many things. How about you start coming clean on what a complete cock-up the systems are at Waikato DHB.