Info@NationalCyberSecurity
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Days later, computer issues continue at Liberty Hospital | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


UPDATE: Liberty Hospital provided this update at 5 p.m. on Friday: “As of 5 p.m. today the emergency department at Liberty Hospital is open to ambulances. It has remained open to walk-in patients.Phone systems at our clinics also are fully operational.Patient safety and care are our utmost priorities as we work to progressively bring online more systems and capabilities as part of recovery efforts from the computer systems disruption.We thank our patients, staff and the community for their support.”————————–A threat analyst for a cyber security company says hospitals are routinely being targeted for ransomware attacks.As KMBC first reported Wednesday, Liberty Hospital received a blackmail message after its computer systems had issues. A criminal enterprise called “INC Ransom” took credit for the cyber-attack and gave the hospital 72 hours to respond.“There is a lot of money in ransomware, and some of that money comes from hospitals. They are very obvious targets. They have to be able to provide their services. They have to be able to restore their services if that’s taken offline. And that means the bad actors think they are likely to pay,” said Brett Callow, a threat analyst for the New Zealand based company Emsisoft.Liberty Hospital’s computer systems issues are having an impact on patient care.The hospital has moved some patients to other locations, postponed appointments for other patients, and encouraged people to seek emergency services at other facilities.On Friday, Hal Whitworth showed up at Liberty Hospital only to find out operators couldn’t pull up his information.As a result, he and his wife went home where his doctor was able to get him an appointment for a CAT scan.Whitworth said it was one of only two appointments scheduled for Friday.“On the way here, we said, thank God we live close. So it wasn’t that big a deal,” he said.However, cyber attacks on health care providers like hospitals have become a very big deal.According to Statnews, federal records show health data breaches have hit an all-time high in the U.S. in 2023. On Thursday, leaders at the University of Kansas Health System’s St. Francis campus in Topeka announced their online patient portal had mostly been restored after a cyber-attack in November.It took that hospital’s vendor weeks to get to that point.Callow points out Statnews also estimates ransomware attacks killed between 42 and 67 Medicare patients from 2016 through 2021. “And when you think about that, that makes absolute sense. If an ambulance carrying, say, a stroke patient has to be directed to a hospital, that’s farther away because the closest one has been ransomed, that could affect their medical outcome,” he said.Based on tracking online wallets, Callow says in the first half of 2023 alone, victims have paid roughly $500 million in ransom demands.But he says paying doesn’t guarantee computer systems will be restored or the data accessed by the cyber-attack is secure.“So even if the organization, the hospital in this case, is able to use its backups to get its systems up and running again, it’s still got the problem of what to do about stolen data, which the criminals say they will post on the dark web,” Callow said. “Yeah, it is making millions and millions of dollars. Personally, I believe that the only way to solve the ransomware problem is to prohibit the payment of ransoms. If you do that, the attacks stop. There would be some short-term pain by doing this, but I believe it is the best solution long-term,” he said.Liberty Hospital spokeswoman Michelle Manuel has neither confirmed nor denied the facility has been victimized by a ransomware attack.However, she says the hospital’s computer systems issues are ongoing and there’s no timetable for when they’ll be safely restored.

UPDATE: Liberty Hospital provided this update at 5 p.m. on Friday:

“As of 5 p.m. today the emergency department at Liberty Hospital is open to ambulances. It has remained open to walk-in patients.

Phone systems at our clinics also are fully operational.

Patient safety and care are our utmost priorities as we work to progressively bring online more systems and capabilities as part of recovery efforts from the computer systems disruption.

We thank our patients, staff and the community for their support.”

————————–

A threat analyst for a cyber security company says hospitals are routinely being targeted for ransomware attacks.

As KMBC first reported Wednesday, Liberty Hospital received a blackmail message after its computer systems had issues.

A criminal enterprise called “INC Ransom” took credit for the cyber-attack and gave the hospital 72 hours to respond.

“There is a lot of money in ransomware, and some of that money comes from hospitals. They are very obvious targets. They have to be able to provide their services. They have to be able to restore their services if that’s taken offline. And that means the bad actors think they are likely to pay,” said Brett Callow, a threat analyst for the New Zealand based company Emsisoft.

Liberty Hospital’s computer systems issues are having an impact on patient care.

The hospital has moved some patients to other locations, postponed appointments for other patients, and encouraged people to seek emergency services at other facilities.

On Friday, Hal Whitworth showed up at Liberty Hospital only to find out operators couldn’t pull up his information.

As a result, he and his wife went home where his doctor was able to get him an appointment for a CAT scan.

Whitworth said it was one of only two appointments scheduled for Friday.

“On the way here, we said, thank God we live close. So it wasn’t that big a deal,” he said.

However, cyber attacks on health care providers like hospitals have become a very big deal.

According to Statnews, federal records show health data breaches have hit an all-time high in the U.S. in 2023.

On Thursday, leaders at the University of Kansas Health System’s St. Francis campus in Topeka announced their online patient portal had mostly been restored after a cyber-attack in November.

It took that hospital’s vendor weeks to get to that point.

Callow points out Statnews also estimates ransomware attacks killed between 42 and 67 Medicare patients from 2016 through 2021.

“And when you think about that, that makes absolute sense. If an ambulance carrying, say, a stroke patient has to be directed to a hospital, that’s farther away because the closest one has been ransomed, that could affect their medical outcome,” he said.

Based on tracking online wallets, Callow says in the first half of 2023 alone, victims have paid roughly $500 million in ransom demands.

But he says paying doesn’t guarantee computer systems will be restored or the data accessed by the cyber-attack is secure.

“So even if the organization, the hospital in this case, is able to use its backups to get its systems up and running again, it’s still got the problem of what to do about stolen data, which the criminals say they will post on the dark web,” Callow said. “Yeah, it is making millions and millions of dollars. Personally, I believe that the only way to solve the ransomware problem is to prohibit the payment of ransoms. If you do that, the attacks stop. There would be some short-term pain by doing this, but I believe it is the best solution long-term,” he said.

Liberty Hospital spokeswoman Michelle Manuel has neither confirmed nor denied the facility has been victimized by a ransomware attack.

However, she says the hospital’s computer systems issues are ongoing and there’s no timetable for when they’ll be safely restored.

——————————————————-


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