Friday 10 May 2024

Massive U.S. Health Care System Targeted In Suspected Cyberattack, Hospital Operations Disrupted

 Ascension Health, one of the nation’s largest health care networks, said it was targeted by a cyberattack on Wednesday, which interrupted “access to some systems.”

Ascension released a statement, saying that it “detected unusual activity on select technology network systems,” adding that it believes the unusual activity was “due to a cyber event.” The St. Louis-based group is the fourth-largest health care system in the U.S. with around 140 hospitals. Ascension also runs a pharmacy system, but the group didn’t say whether its pharmacy network was affected by the cyber event.

“Our care teams are trained for these kinds of disruptions and have initiated procedures to ensure patient care delivery continues to be safe and as minimally impacted as possible,” the statement added. “There has been a disruption to clinical operations, and we continue to assess the impact and duration of the disruption.”

The health care group added that it is investigating the cybersecurity event to see if any of its patients’ sensitive information was compromised.

“Should we determine that any sensitive information was affected, we will notify and support those individuals in accordance with all relevant regulatory and legal guidelines,” Ascension said.

The suspected cyberattack affected some patients’ hospital visits, including a man in Southfield, Michigan, who checked himself into the hospital fearing his cancer had returned. Zackery Lopez said he had to wait seven hours just to receive some pain medication, adding that he witnessed chaos on the hospital floor as staff tried to deal with the cyber event.

“Right now it is crazy. Nurses are running around. Doctors are running around. There’s no computers whatsoever they can use,” Lopez told Fox 2. “So, they’re actually using charts.”

Hospitals and pharmacies have been targeted more often in cyberattacks in recent years, falling prey to cybercriminals who hack into a system to lock up sensitive information or critical health care files and hold it for ransom, CBS News reported. Often, these cybercriminals are based in foreign nations, especially Russia.


Earlier this year, a U.S. health insurance company was targeted by a cyberattack from what it believed to be a foreign “nation-state” actor. UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest health insurance agencies in the country, said in February that its subsidiary Change Healthcare was targeted by a suspected nation-state actor that gained access to its system and resulted in some of its pharmacies being unable to process prescriptions for insurance companies to receive payment.

No comments:

Post a Comment