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A decryption tool that could enable Irish health authorities to restore data stolen in a cyber attack is being tested.

The Irish government has said it could get hospitals and the health care system back to normal sooner.

The Irish Department of Health was attacked on last Thursday, with a similar attack on the Health Service Executive (HSE) last Friday.

The government has said it has not paid a ransom.

A detailed technical process is being carried out on the decryption tool by the Republic of Ireland's National Cyber Security Centre and private contractors to ensure it works safely and would not cause further harm, broadcaster RTE is reporting.

The Irish government has described it as encouraging, although the safety check could take some time.

Those behind the breach have threatened to release the data on the internet.

Cyber-attack on Irish health service 'catastrophic'
Ireland's cyber-security 'under continuous review'
On Thursday, the head of the Health Service Executive Paul Reid described the impact of the cyber attack as "catastrophic" and "stomach-churning".

The HSE has secured a High Court order preventing the Russia-based hackers, or any individual or business sharing, processing, or selling the information.

The court injunction also applies to social media platforms such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook and therefore limits the gang's scope for disseminating the information.

The HSE said all elements of health services were affected, including major disruption to radiotherapy services.

It said it was working to treat all urgent radiation patients in private hospitals.

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