#Privacy: Ten hospitals hit by ransomware attacks

Ten hospitals, seven in Australia and three in Alabama, have been held to ransom by cyber-criminals since Monday. 

The computers at the three Alabama hospitals, operated by the DCH Health Systems, were greatly impacted thus forcing them to stop taking on new patients. 

The DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Northport Medical Center, and Fayette Medical Centre, were the three US hospitals impacted. Local ambulances are instructed to take patients to other hospitals nearby. 

In a statement posted earlier today, DCH wrote: “Early Oct. 1, the DCH Health System discovered that it had suffered a ransomware attack that impacted their systems. We immediately implemented emergency procedures to continue providing safe and patient-centered care.”

In Australia, at least seven hospitals have also been hit by ransomware attacks that also struck on Monday. Hospitals in the Gippsland Health Alliance and South West Alliance of Rural Health, including hospitals in Colac, Sale, Bairnsdale, Warrnambool and Warragul were hit. 

The attacks resulted in booking systems being shut down to quarantine the virus and surgeries being delayed. Employees at Geelong’s major University Hospital were forced to revert to manual bookings and records. 

It remains unknown when the hospital’s computer systems will be back up and running. 

“The Victorian government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet said: “A number or servers across the state have been impacted. Investigations are still taking place on the full extent of the impact.

“At this time, there is no suggestion that personal patient information has been accessed.”

Senior director of managed threat response at Sophos, J.J Thompson, commented: “Ransomware is foreseeable and preventable. Organisations need to have effective, advanced protection in place at every state of an attack. The techniques, tactics, and procedures that occur prior to a ransomware incident can and should be detected by existing security capabilities and are foundational pillars to the patient care model in healthcare 4.0.”


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