Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Ascension St. John experiencing technology disruptions | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


One of Tulsa’s largest health care systems is contending with disruptions in service as it investigates a possible cybersecurity breach.

Asked to confirm reports from patients that Ascension St. John Health System across the Tulsa area is diverting or transferring patients, a hospital spokeswoman said she was not authorized to respond.

An EMSA spokesman did, however, confirm that local ambulances were being diverted away from Ascension St. John facilities.

“ER diverts are something that happen almost daily for various reasons at various hospitals,” he said.

But about reports that St. John Medical Center and Ascension’s suburban hospitals are currently operating without access to internet, computer-based patient charts and telephone lines, the hospital spokeswoman released this written statement to the Tulsa World:

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“On Wednesday, May 8, we detected unusual activity on select technology network systems. We responded immediately, initiated our investigation and activated our remediation efforts. Access to some systems have been interrupted as this process continues.

“Our care teams are trained for these kinds of disruptions and have initiated procedures to ensure patient care delivery continues to be safe and as minimally impacted as possible.”

The use of online technology throughout health care has made hospitals an increasingly common target of thieves who attempt to hold systems’ data and networks hostage in exchange for ransom payments.

Last fall, Hillcrest HealthCare System had to reschedule or divert patients after its parent company, Ardent, suffered a ransomware attack.

Officials for Ascension, the St. Louis-headquartered, Catholic faith-based health care organization that assumed operation of the former locally administered St. John system in 2013, said patients will be notified if an investigation of the newly detected “unusual activity” finds that sensitive information was affected.

“We have notified the appropriate authorities and are working to fully investigate what information, if any, may have been affected by the situation. Should we determine that any sensitive information was affected, we will notify and support those individuals in accordance with all relevant regulatory and legal guidelines,” the Ascension St. John spokeswoman said.


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