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St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin in January 2021. Photo: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ireland's public health care service preemptively deactivated its IT services on Friday after it was targeted by a ransomware attack, according to the AP.

Why it matters: The attack on Ireland's Health Service Executive, and other recent high-profile cyber extortion attempts, demonstrates how vulnerable critical infrastructure is to criminal hacking groups.

What they're saying: “We’ve taken a precautionary measure to shut down a lot of our major systems to protect them,” Paul Reid, the head of the HSE, told broadcaster RTE.

  • “We are at the very early stages of fully understanding the threats, the impact and trying to contain it.”
  • "This is having a severe impact on our health and social care services today, but individual services and hospital groups are impacted in different ways," Ireland's Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said in a tweet.

The big picture: The attack and the resulting IT issues have forced hospitals to cancel numerous appointments, though it is unclear how widespread the disruption was.

  • Coronavirus testing and vaccination appointments were not disrupted by the ransomware attempt, though a maternity hospital in Dublin canceled most of its routine appointments because of IT issues, according to AP.

Go deeper: The ransomware pandemic

Go deeper

HHS to require COVID-19 vaccine for 25,000 of its health care workers

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced that it will require more than 25,000 members of its health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: It's the latest federal agency to implement a vaccine mandate, joining the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. freezes aid to Sudan over military coup

Protesting the coup in Khartoum. Photo: AFP via Getty

The Biden administration froze a $700 million aid package to Sudan after a military coup on Monday threatened to end the country's transition toward democracy.

Driving the news: At least three protesters have been killed and dozens wounded in the chaotic scenes that followed the announcements from Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's ruling council, dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.