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Ascension cyberattack May 2024: Ransomware forces medical group to turn away some ambulances at Alexian Brothers, Illinois site | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


CHICAGO — A ransomware attack has forced hospital group Ascension’s computer systems offline and diverted ambulances away from some of its emergency departments, including one in the Chicago area.

The hospital group that operates Ascension Resurrection in Chicago, St. Alexius in Hoffman Estates and Alexian Brothers in Elk Grove Village said it was a victim of a “cybersecurity event” after noticing “unusual activity” on its computer network on Wednesday.

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It confirmed Saturday that it is recovering from a ransomware attack and is working with cybersecurity experts and the FBI. Ascension did not say when its computer systems would be restored.

The sprawling St. Louis-based hospital group operates 140 hospitals in 19 states. In Illinois, Ascension runs 15 hospitals and 230 sites of care.

Ascension said its facilities remain open but that several hospitals are turning away ambulances and diverting them to other hospitals “to ensure emergency cases are triaged immediately.”

An Ascension spokeswoman said Alexian Brothers went on ambulance diversion from 5 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday as a result of the attack. Resurrection and St. Alexius hospitals were not affected, she said.

The attack took down Ascension’s electronic health records system and the system it uses to order tests, procedures and medications, the hospital group said. Staff have reverted to using paper records and “processing everything by hand.”

“While our restoration work continues in earnest, our focus is on restoring systems as safely as possible,” an Ascension spokesperson said in a statement Saturday. “While we expect this process will take time to complete, we are making progress and systems are being restored in a coordinated manner at each of our care sites. We will continue to share updates on our recovery process.”

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2024.)

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