Ascension Confirms Ransomware Attack

The organization has yet to confirm if the incident compromised patient data.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

Healthcare organizations seem to report new cyberattacks daily. These organizations harbor masses of personal and medical data, and the attacks result in data breaches. 

Ascension, a healthcare system based in St. Louis, Missouri, detected unusual activity on some network systems on May 8, and suspected a cybersecurity incident, according to Urban Milwaukee. The organization is collaborating with an external expert to address the issue and determine if sensitive patient information was compromised. If so, affected individuals will be notified.  

On May 11, Ascension confirmed the incident was a ransomware attack. 

Related: Hospital Websites Too Often Share User Data with Third Parties: Study

Cyberattacks and data breaches are becoming increasingly common threats to healthcare systems and facilities, with 525 incidents occurring in 2023, according to a report from Verizon. Other findings in that report included: 

  • Sixty-six percent of breaches were external, while 35 percent were internal. 
  • Ninety-eight percent of breaches were financially motivated. 
  • Among the data compromised, 67 percent were personal, 54 percent were medical and 36 percent were credentials. 

The healthcare and public health sector also ranked highest for ransomware complaints in 2023. The sector filed 249 complaints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to Econofact

Jeff Wardon, Jr. is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 

May 14, 2024

Topic Area: Information Technology , Security

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