Ascension confirms ransomware caused service shutdowns, ambulance diversions | #ransomware | #cybercrime

The exact nature of delayed care ranges from unfilled prescriptions, missed mammograms and more, but patients currently hospitalized at an Ascension were reassured there is no need for a transfer, as clinicians are “trained in providing patient care with established downtime protocols and procedures.” However, those seeking emergency care at Ascension hospitals going forward are advised to bring with them a list of current medications and as many personal medical history details as possible. 

Authorities have been notified of the breach, the statement said. As of now, there is no indication that patient data has ended up on the dark web and it is not clear what information, if any, the hackers had taken. The ransomware attack is still being investigated. No cybercrime group has claimed credit for the attack, and it is not yet clear how hackers gained access.

“Investigations of this nature take time to complete. While we are not able to provide an exact timetable, we will continue to provide updates as appropriate,” an Ascension spokesperson said. 

The health system is not sure when patient care disruptions will end, but has hired cybersecurity firm Mandiant to aid in the investigation of the breach and the restoration of systems.

Ascension attends to 3.1 million emergency patients and 349,000 urgent care visits annually. More than 16.4 million patients rely on its physician offices and clinics.

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