New York State health officials acknowledged that a network of Brooklyn hospitals whose computer systems crashed last month — causing chaos for patients and staffers — had been subjected to a cyber hack attack.
“The New York State Department of Health is aware of an incident and is working with One Brooklyn Network to ensure patient safety,” state Health Department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said late Monday.
“As there is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further.”
One Brooklyn Health oversees Brookdale, Interfaith and Kingsbrook Jewish hospitals — so-called “safety net” facilities because they serve among the poorest and neediest patients in the city and receive tens of millions of dollars in subsidies from the state.
The network’s governing board is chaired by billionaire Alexander Rovt, a mega donor to Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Meanwhile, One Brooklyn Health CEO Laray Brown also sent a recent note to medical staffers confirming the database crash that has impacted access to patient records was the result of cybersecurity mischief.
“Our ongoing investigation has so far confirmed that the network disruption was a result of a cybersecurity incident,” Brown said.
She said she made referrals to law enforcement agencies to investigate the suspected cyber hacking crime.
“We are in contact with relevant federal, state and local agencies and regulators as it pertains to this incident,” Brown said.
The admission from state regulators came after a former Brooklyn Councilman and mayoral candidate Sal Albanese and medical lawyer James Schiffer publicly claimed that the hospital system had been hacked and subjected to a $5 million cyber ransom from hackers to fix the mess.
“Amazing, One Brooklyn Hospital System (composed of merger of 3 hospitals) has been hacked and criminals are requesting a 5M ransom. Meanwhile, these vital facilities are functioning with pen & paper bc they won’t pay ransom. This according to a staff member,” Albanese said in a tweet.
Schiffer, a lawyer and licensed pharmacist with connections to the One Brooklyn Health, told The Post, “They’ve been hacked. They’re afraid to put it out there because they’re worried people won’t go to the hospitals.”
Schiffer, a partner at the firm Allegaert Berger & Vogel, said One Brooklyn Health is trying to recreate its hospital database systems instead of paying ransom.
Brown told staffers that 250 computers and 775 mobile devices and laptops have been distributed across the hospitals to work around the data systems that have been off-line since Nov. 17.
The health care honcho said some services have been restored.
“I can’t promise a timeline for when all our systems will be back up and running,” Brown said.
She emphasized that “our facilities remain open, and we continue to provide care for our patients using well established downtime processes.”