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Missouri hospital forced to divert patients after ransomware attack

Filip TRUȚĂ

July 11, 2018

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Missouri hospital forced to divert patients after ransomware attack

A Harrisonville, Missouri-based hospital has been forced to shut down some operations and divert patients after a ransomware attack on its infrastructure and electronic health record (EHR) vendor.

Ransomware operators have shifted focus from the consumer segment to the more lucrative business sector. In recent months, bad actors have acquired a specific taste for healthcare providers.

Earlier this week, Cass Regional Medical Center – a hospital in Harrisonville, Missouri – posted a notice announcing it has fallen victim to a ransomware attack. The incident is only the latest in a long string of ransomware attacks targeting the healthcare industry in the past 12 months.

“At approximately 11 a.m. this morning, Cass Regional Medical Center became aware of a ransomware attack on its information technology infrastructure,” reads the notice, posted by the hospital on Facebook. “Affected areas include internal communication systems and access to the organization”s electronic health record (EHR). At this time, there is no evidence that patient data has been breached, but as an extra precaution, Meditech, the hospital”s EHR vendor, has opted to shut down the system until the attack is resolved.”

Hospital leadership was prompt in responding to the attack. Within half an hour of the first signs of attack, patient care managers reportedly met to devise a plan to continue to tend to patients safely and effectively. The IT department, meanwhile, called on law enforcement and cybersecurity experts to take steps toward mitigation.

To ensure optimal care for its patients, clinical leaders have decided to go on “ambulance diversion” for trauma and stroke emergencies, according to the notice. “Hospital personnel will continue to evaluate the situation and respond accordingly,” Cass Regional Medical Center said.

Details about the ransomware strain used by the attackers were not available at press time.

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