Ransomware Disrupts Healthcare Operations

Ascension’s operations are disrupted by a ransomware attack affecting patient care across its 142 hospitals.


 

Patient Data Compromise Likely

The attack likely involved data theft, with affected patients to be notified according to legal guidelines.


 

Emergency Services Diverted

Some hospitals divert emergency services to manage critical cases, though all emergency departments remain open.


News > Cyber-Attacks > CA-General
by Kevin Wood

Ascension Cyberattack: A Lingering Disruption with Recovery Efforts Underway

 

 

Healthcare industry on alert, again

On May 8, 2024, Ascension, the largest non-profit Catholic health system in the United States, detected unusual activity in its network systems, which was later confirmed as a ransomware attack. This incident has disrupted operations across Ascension’s 142 hospitals and numerous care sites nationwide, affecting clinical operations and patient care.

Attack Details

The ransomware group Black Basta has been identified as the perpetrator of the attack. This group has been increasingly targeting the healthcare sector. Although the full extent of the data breach is still under investigation, it is highly likely that patient data has been compromised. Ascension has committed to notifying and supporting affected individuals according to regulatory guidelines if data theft is confirmed.

Current Status

Ascension has made progress in responding to the attack with the help of leading cybersecurity experts and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). The health system has implemented established downtime procedures to continue providing patient care. While some systems have been restored, full recovery is expected to take additional time​.

Impact on Operations

  1. Emergency Services: Some hospitals have had to divert emergency services to ensure critical cases are handled promptly. Despite this, all emergency departments remain operational​.
  2. Non-Emergent Procedures: Non-emergent elective procedures, tests, and appointments have been temporarily paused in many facilities. Patients whose appointments need rescheduling are being contacted directly by their care teams​.
  3. Patient Care: Hospitals and facilities remain open, and staff are trained to manage care without full access to IT systems. Patients are advised to continue attending appointments unless otherwise notified​.

Ongoing Measures

Ascension continues to work with cybersecurity experts to restore systems safely and prevent future incidents. They are also collaborating with government agencies to share threat intelligence and enhance protections across the healthcare sector. The health system is updating a dedicated website to provide real-time information on service availability and recovery progress.

Patient Guidance

Patients are advised to bring notes on their symptoms and current medications to appointments, as electronic health record systems like MyChart are still affected. Ascension assures that patient care remains their highest priority, and all efforts are being made to minimize disruptions​.

For more information and updates, patients and stakeholders can visit Ascension’s official website and the dedicated recovery information page.

 

  • Ransomware Disruption: The Ascension cyber-attack disrupted operations across 142 hospitals, highlighting the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures.
  • Data Compromise Risk: Sensitive patient data is likely compromised, emphasizing the importance of advanced data protection solutions.
  • Emergency Services Impact: Some hospitals had to divert emergency services, affecting patient care and response times.
  • BBG’s Solutions:
  • Disaster Recovery: Ensure continuous data availability and quick recovery to minimize downtime.
  • Ransomware Protectoin: Detect and mitigate ransomware threats early to protect sensitive data.
  • Enterprise Web Browsing: Secure browsing solutions to prevent infections and enhance security.
  • Data Analytics: Use advanced analytics for better threat detection and response.

For tailored cybersecurity solutions, contact BBG at security@bbg-mn.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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