Ransomware attacks resulted in three hospitals in the United States having to temporarily shut out their patients with the exception of those who were in critical condition.
“A criminal is limiting our ability to use our computer systems in exchange for an as-yet unknown payment,” says the DCH Health System.
The hospitals that were hit in Alabama – Tuscaloosa’s DCH Regional Medical Center, the Fayette Medical Center, and the Northport Medical Center – are all run by the DCH (Department of Community Health).
“We will continue to divert any new admissions, other than those that are critical, to other facilities,” stated the DCH.
Ambulances in the area have been delivering patients to various other nearby hospitals. Outpatients who had scheduled appointments at the affected hospitals were informed to call before their arrival, but certain surgeries and procedures already arranged for today will still be performed.
Those responsible for the ransomware attack have not been identified as of yet. One cyber-security expert said that many organizations deploying ransomware have have become a lot more coordinated.
Australian hospitals were also infected
Over half a dozen hospitals in Australia have also recently been the target of ransomware attacks. Barwon Health, an operator from one of the hospitals, said that “some elective surgery and appointments have been cancelled”.
Several computer systems have been shutdown due to the attacks, meaning that various booking, patient record, and management services have been suspended.
This will likely impact attempts to get in touch with certain patients and schedule their appointments. The Government of Victoria said, “Where practical, hospitals are reverting to manual systems to maintain their services.”
“Unfortunately the groups breaking into individual computers at organisations are becoming rapidly better at obtaining access across networks, and then causing chaos with a goal to being paid,” says cyber-security expert from the United Kingdom, Kevin Beaumont. “This problem isn’t going to go away”.