Hack crashes health systems and Brazil postpones restrictions on travelers

hack restrictions Brazil's Health Ministry. Photo: Arthur Matsuo/Shutterstock
Brazil’s Health Ministry. Photo: Arthur Matsuo/Shutterstock

Brazil’s Deputy Health Minister Rodrigo Cruz said on Friday that the government will postpone the enforcement of new rules on international travelers for seven days. The delay is a result of a hacking attack that took the Health Ministry’s servers offline — making it impossible for citizens to access any type of data, including proof of vaccination.

Earlier this week, the government determined that unvaccinated visitors from abroad would have to self-quarantine for five days to be allowed into Brazil. But millions of people are now unable to retrieve their vaccination status.

An obscure hacker group demands authorities get in contact them to establish a ransom for the data they claim to have stolen and deleted — however, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga claimed on Friday that backups are up to date and no data will be lost. 

Besides compromising the enforcement of vaccine mandates, the ransomware attack disrupted vaccine rollouts throughout the country — with millions unable to receive second and third doses due to the impossibility of accessing their vaccination records.