Canadian customers of paramedic data service still offline after cyber incident

A cyber attack on a Texas-based cloud provider of emergency responder applications has impacted around 100 Canadian paramedic ambulance services, most of them in Ontario.

Haldimand County’s Paramedic Services is one of them. Today it issued a statement saying it has been told the platform it uses to record patient data, made by ESO Solutions, has been taken offline in response to a potential cybersecurity incident.

“This situation is currently impacting many paramedic services across Ontario,” the statement says.

This service interruption does not affect the paramedics ability to respond to 9-1-1 emergency calls, the county says. There is also no evidence thus far that any confidential information, including personal health information of patients under the care of Haldimand County Paramedic Services, has been compromised, it adds.

According to Global News, ambulance services in Peterborough and Haliburton counties are also affected.

The platform is operated by ESO Solutions, which sells electronic health and property record solutions to emergency measures agencies, fire departments, hospitals, and related organizations. The company says it serves thousands of customers throughout North America.

Data collected by the company’s Canadian customers is stored in ESO-owned data centres in Toronto and Halifax, company spokesperson Andy Prince said in an interview today.

“We got an alert on Monday the 14th that there had been unauthorized access to the servers that support our customers in Canada,” he said. “We made the decision to pull the platform offline, brought in a third-party forensics team to conduct a forensic investigation to discover if there were been any data compromises and software installed, any data exfiltration.

“We’re not complete with the investigation yet, but to date there has been no evidence of any sort of data breach or corruption, or software installed. Right now the system looks clean, but we’re going to continue the investigation until we’re at a place where we’re confident we can bring it back up and it’s a safe and secure environment for our customers.”

Paramedics use ESO applications to record incident information, including patient data, on mobile devices. The data is then uploaded to ESO servers, where it can be accessed by hospitals. Paramedics can still enter data. What has been turned off is the ability to synchronize it to ESO servers. Paramedics could download the data locally, Prince said, but customers have asked for a way to print out case files for the time being.

The focus of ESO’s actions now is on determining if its IT systems were compromised, Prince said. Only after that has been determined will investigators try to figure out if this was a data theft or ransomware attack.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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