Ransomware Attacks Continue to Plague Healthcare

January 12, 2021

As city governments, school districts and other institutional facilities nationwide come under a growing wave of ransomware attacks, facility managers and IT professionals in hospitals and other healthcare organizations are implementing a range of measures designed to keep patient information and other critical data safe and secure. Unfortunately, successful attacks continue to create crises for some organizations.

In Minnesota, Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) was hit with a ransomware attack a few days before Christmas, resulting in some computer system outages and disrupting certain operations, according to Health IT Security. First reported on December 22, the security team first detected unidentified activities on certain computer systems. In response, officials said they launched EHR downtime procedures to ensure continuity of care. LRH had previously established downtime protocols ahead of the attack, which enabled the care team to continue providing patient services.

However, some patient care and business service systems were left without full functions in the immediate wake of the attack. Officials said staff worked with computer specialists to determine the cause of the disruption, examine the scope of the incident, and restore downed systems.

In Maryland, one month after a crippling ransomware incident, Greater Baltimore Medical Center is beginning to restore the Towson hospital’s electronic medical records, according to The Baltimore Sun. The Dec. 6 cyberattack disrupted the healthcare system’s communication and data-keeping infrastructure and forced it to take systems offline and reschedule some procedures. A center official said in an email to patients that hospital administrators did not detect that any data had been misused and were collaborating with law enforcement.

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