Brazil’s health ministry announced that its website suffered a ransomware attack on Dec. 10 by hackers who took down several of its systems, including information about the national COVID-19 vaccination program and a system that is used to issue digital vaccination certificates.
As a result of the attack, the Brazilian government was forced to postpone implementing new health requirements for travelers arriving in the country — since it was not able to access the vaccination data.
“The health ministry reports that in the early hours of Friday it suffered an incident that temporarily compromised some of its systems … which are currently unavailable,” it said in a statement. Brazilian police said that they were investigating the attack.
The alleged hackers, calling themselves the “Lapsus$ Group,” posted a message on the health ministry website saying that they had copied and deleted internal data. In the ransomware attack, the group said, “Contact us if you want the data back.” The message on the health ministry website also included e-mail and Telegram contact information, but that data was removed by Friday afternoon.
Also, user data in the ConectSUS app had disappeared. This app provides Brazilian citizens with vaccine certificates.
The ministry said it was working to restore its systems. By Friday evening, Deputy Health Minister Rodrigo Cruz said in a news conference that “access to the vaccination data has still not been recovered.”
However, on Sunday, the health ministry confirmed in a tweet that it was able to recover the vaccination data that was taken during the attack.
“The Ministry of Health informs that the process for recovering the records of Brazilians vaccinated against Covid-19 has been completed, with no loss of information. All data was successfully retrieved,” it said. “At the moment, the department is working to re-establish the systems for registering and issuing vaccination certificates as quickly as possible.”