FBI notified following ‘ransomware incident’ at Ascension | News | #ransomware | #cybercrime

TULSA, Okla. — Ascension is investigating a ‘ransomware incident’ after the company detected ‘unusual activity’ on certain network systems.

Ascension said they responded immediately by beginning to investigate and activating their ‘remediation efforts’. 

The disturbance happened to the parent company of St. John, Ascension, but it has led to technical difficulties at the Tulsa hospital, and all other Ascension locations.

Emergency and in-house patient care is continuing to operate as usual. The difficulties stem from software and looking up information on their systems. So its led to some longer lines in the non-emergency, and also troubles getting in new patient appointments.

Other hospitals including St. Francis and Hillcrest have seen a spike in new patients after the issue at Ascension, but said they are not overwhelmed.

Hillcrest released the following statement amid the spike in patients.

“Since last week, our two acute care metro hospitals have seen a slow but steady rise in both ER and transfer center volumes as we work to assist our neighbors. While our inpatient and emergency departments are much busier, our ability to deliver inpatient care has not been impacted. Diversions are not uncommon, and our teams are prepared to care for patients being brought to our facilities.”

OSU Medical Center released the following statement in response to the rise in patient numbers.

“OSU Medical Center is prepared daily for an influx of patients. While we have seen an increase, we continue to be able to provide the best care possible.”

A third party expert, Mandiant, was called to assist in the investigation and Ascension has notified the authorities including the FBI.

If any sensitive information was compromised, Ascension said they will notify and support those who were affected.

Ascension’s business partners are recommended to temporarily suspend their connection the Ascension environment and will inform them when its OK to reconnect.

Below is the most recent statement from Ascension St. John following the ransom ware incident.

“We continue to diligently investigate and address the recent ransomware incident, working closely with industry leading cybersecurity experts to assist in our investigation and restoration and recovery efforts. Additionally, we have notified law enforcement, as well as government partners including the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the American Hospital Association (AHA). We remain in close contact with the FBI and CISA, and we are sharing relevant threat intelligence with the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (H-ISAC) so that our industry partners and peers can take steps to protect themselves from similar incidents.

While our restoration work continues in earnest, our focus is on restoring systems as safely as possible. 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.”

Ascension released the following statement in part in their initial press release about the ransomware incident.

“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.”

Ascension said if you are experiencing a medial emergency, please call 911 and emergency services will bring you to the nearest emergency room available.

For Ascension’s full statement on the network interruption, click here.

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