Health Bureau’s online system falls victim to cyberattack

The online system of the Health Services Bureau (SSM) suffered from a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on Tuesday, disrupting the network service of the health declaration system and the mask supply network for residents.

DDoS is a type of cyberattack that disables users to temporarily or indefinitely access a network resource as the perpetrator disrupts services of a host connected to the internet.

In a statement issued this morning, the SSM said that residents and tourists were unable to complete and submit health declarations online, and that the mask supply system was interrupted, as it was not possible to perform the online check.

“‘In cooperation with internet service providers, related services have been successfully intercepted and restored. At present, the epidemic situation of new coronavirus infection is serious and poses a major threat to public health security in Macau,” the bureau said in a statement.

“These cyberattacks cause serious disturbances in the order of work to combat the epidemic, and these acts are extremely serious,” it added, noting that the bureau had already reported the case to the Judiciary Police.

Approximately 50 pharmacies in collaborative partnerships with public health institutions and the city’s health centers have been distributing surgical face since last Thursday.

Each Macau identification card entitles the holder to purchase up to 10 masks at one time.

Meanwhile, in order to ensure the quality of the masks, the SSM said that it would periodically carry out inspections and have also asked pharmacies to carry out quality checks before selling batches to the public.

To date, more than 2.3 million masks have been sold under the scheme, implying that some 230,000 residents have purchased surgical face masks.

Regarding the quality of the masks, the bureau described that “the materials used by the manufacturers are different and have different thicknesses”, but “all masks have adequate protection.”

The number of masks in stock at pharmacies was also said to be sufficient to meet local demand.

Nevertheless, some pharmacies are suspending sales for periods throughout the day due to the time required for repacking masks. The Times is aware that a pharmacy in Taipa has asked buyers to return only today at 11 a.m. for mask purchases.

Beginning last week, in accordance with regulations of subparagraphs 1 and 2 of article 10 of Law No. 2/2004 – “Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases”, people entering the SAR are obliged to complete a health declaration form – which is also made available online.

Lynzy Valles

Categories Headlines Macau