Ascension gives updates on what Florida patients can do following ransomware attack on its systems | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ascension gave updates on what Florida patients can do after it confirmed it is a victim of ransomware attacks.

RELATED: Appointments postponed, multiple systems down following ‘cybersecurity incident’ at Ascension hospitals

Randy Lockwood said he’s a patient of Ascension St. Vincent’s on the Southside, and he was told his doctor’s office’s fax lines are not operational.

This is following a cyberattack that is impacting Ascension facilities across 19 states–including 140 hospitals, senior living facilities, and more.

RELATED: A cyberattack forces a big US health system to divert ambulances and take records offline

Lockwood said he suspects some patients are delivering their health information, the old-fashioned way.

“You could probably hand deliver them everything, but a lot of places they want the fax to come through because they want to verify that it actually came from the doctor, and not the patient itself,” Lockwood said.

Ascension gave specific updates for the states it serves including what Florida patients can do after the cyberattack.

In Florida, doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, and walk-in clinics are operating at normal hours–though there may be some delays because they can’t use computerized records.

Ascension Rx retail pharmacies in Florida CAN NOT fill prescriptions at this time. Patients should work with their doctor to get their medication at another local pharmacy.

Emergency rooms will remain open.

Patients with elective surgeries should arrive as planned unless they’re told otherwise.

The cyberattack prompted the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center to issue an advisory saying that hackers targeting the healthcare sector are accelerating their criminal efforts.

A spokesperson from Ascension wrote in part:

Our priority remains on providing safe patient care. Ascension, with the support of leading cybersecurity experts, worked around the clock to respond to the ransomware incident affecting our systems. We are focused on restoring systems safely. We are making progress, however, it will take time to return to normal operations.

Ascension spokesperson

Lockwood offered advice for any patient affected by the cyberattack.

“It’s getting worse and worse. And I recommend highly, that everybody go into Experian, TransUnion, Equifax and freeze their credit,” Lockwood said.

Ascension said it’s still working to determine whether any sensitive information was affected and if so, they will notify the affected people.

Cyber experts said ransomware attackers give their victims between 10 and 12 days to pay the ransom before the bad actors publish the stolen data on the dark web.

It remains unclear if Ascension is paying the ransom or not. They have hired a third-party expert in the remediation process and the FBI is also involved.

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