top of page

Attack on Florida Hospital

According to the healthcare network, an apparent cyberattack has forced some emergency patients to be transferred to other facilities and some non-emergency surgeries to be cancelled.


Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, which operates a 772-bed hospital and several specialty care centres, said late Thursday night that a "IT security issue" forced it to shut down its computer system. "In addition, we are diverting EMS [emergency medical services] patients and will only accept Level 1 traumas from our immediate service area," the hospital system said in a statement. The most severe injuries and illnesses are classified as level 1 trauma.


Tori Lynn Schneider, a spokesperson for Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, told CNN that "some" emergency patients were being diverted to facilities outside of the organization's network, but she declined to say how many. Because of the hacking incident, all nonemergency and elective procedures scheduled for Monday were cancelled, according to Schneider.


It's the latest in a string of cyberattacks on resource-constrained US health-care providers in the nearly three years since the Covid-19 pandemic began. In another case, in October, hackers attempted a ransomware attack on a Louisiana health care system, gaining access to nearly 270,000 patients' personal information. According to the FBI, the computer infrastructure used by a notorious ransomware gang to attack multiple US hospitals was shut down last month. However, the threat persists because multiple ransomware groups are known to target the healthcare sector. It's the latest in a string of cyberattacks that have targeted resource-constrained US healthcare providers in the nearly three years since the Covid-19 pandemic began. In another case, in October, hackers gained access to nearly 270,000 patients' personal information during an attempted ransomware attack on a Louisiana health care system.


According to the FBI, last month it shut down the computer infrastructure used by a notorious ransomware gang to attack multiple US hospitals. However, the threat remains because multiple ransomware groups are known to target the healthcare sector. It is unknown who was behind the apparent hack of Tallahassee Memorial. Tallahassee Memorial did not specify whether it had been the victim of a ransomware attack, but the organization's statement described activity consistent with a ransomware attack, including the need to shut down computer networks. Because of the shutdown, staff have been unable to access digital patient records and lab results, according to a hospital source.


According to the source, Tallahassee Memorial CEO Mark O'Bryant personally informed staff Friday morning that the system had been hacked. "To assist us in containing the issue, please immediately turn off all PCs connected to TMH's network and leave them off until notified otherwise," Tallahassee Memorial leadership said in a memo distributed to employees Friday morning and obtained by CNN.


According to Max Henderson, a Tallahassee native and cybersecurity specialist specialising in health care, the effects of a hospital's computer network being shut down can last for weeks or months. "Immediate, unplanned shutdowns can result in the loss of recently gathered data regarding diagnosis, clinical notes, shift handovers, and other various setbacks for the medical staff," said Henderson, senior manager for incident response at security firm Pondurance. "Nearly all hospitals rely on the internet to connect with vendors and remote offices in critical departments such as radiology, pharmacy, medical device maintenance, patient document scanning, and payment processing," Henderson added.

55 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page