Info@NationalCyberSecurity
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Liberty Hospital cybersecurity incident shines light on security in hospitals | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Healthcare system entities are cybersecurity targets.

Hospitals are hit more than 1,400 times a week, according to Check Point Research, a group that analyzes cyber attacks.

It’s been almost a month since a cybersecurity issue disrupted operations at Liberty Hospital.

“We have seen an increase in the number of these attacks,” said Dr. Jeffrey Tully, co-director of the Center for Healthcare Cyber Security.

RELATED | Liberty Hospital determines ‘cybersecurity incident’ disrupted computer system

Patient concerns

KSHB 41 spoke with a patient who is unsure whether her personal information landed in the wrong hands after the Liberty Hospital incident.

KSHB 41 News staff

Linda Maupin

Linda Maupin said she’s going to be able to “take off walking again without any problems” as she continues her ankle surgery recovery at home with her dogs.

With her home being in Chillicothe, Maupin’s drive to Liberty Hospital takes around an hour and a half.

“I’d rather go to a hospital where I have to drive a little ways; seems like the care is better,” she said. “I’ve always thought a great deal of that hospital.”

Originally, Maupin’s surgery was set for Dec. 21. But she received a call the night before that plans had changed.

“They said that they were having computer issues and it affected some of their equipment so they weren’t able to do the surgery,” she said.

Liberty Hospital took its computer network entirely offline and had to move some patients to other hospitals.

In an email to KSHB 41, the hospital said, “We became aware of a disruption to our computer systems on December 19. We proactively took our computer network offline and implemented additional safety protocols. Our information technology team quickly called in third-party cybersecurity specialists and together they took immediate action to begin understanding the nature and extent of the event. The computer systems disruption has since been determined to be a cybersecurity event.”

So, the hospital postponed Maupin’s ankle surgery, an injury that has lingered since childhood.

“I was disappointed because I was ready to get my surgery over with and get it done,” she said.

Physician POV

Dr. Jeffrey Tully

KSHB 41 News staff

Dr. Jeffrey Tully

Dr. Jeffrey Tully, co-director of the Center for Healthcare Cyber Security, said connected technology has “really come to the bedrock in how we care for patients.”

And as a physician, he understands this process on an even deeper level.

“Unfortunately, the reason that we might see an increase in the number of these types of instances is that they are successful,” he said.

Tully said these types of issues disrupt everything from hospital operations to patient care.

“The delay in operations leads to loss of billing, loss of revenue and there’s a loss of reputation that these hospitals experience,” he said.

Incidents like what Liberty Hospital experienced toe the line between patient safety and hospital functionality, per Tully.

“I think being transparent to the degree possible and being realistic with patients as to what type of care can be delivered safely is very important,” he said.

Resolution

Thankfully, Maupin’s lifelong injury was addressed.

“It weighs on my mind a little bit, wondering what really took place,” she said.

But what lingers now is the concern of the whereabouts of her personal information.

“What’s gonna happen with that? Is it gonna cause the patient some serious trouble, maybe financial?” Maupin said.

Liberty’s full, updated statement is as follows:

“We became aware of a disruption to our computer systems on December 19. We proactively took our computer network offline and implemented additional safety protocols. Our information technology team quickly called in third-party cybersecurity specialists and together they took immediate action to begin understanding the nature and extent of the event. The computer systems disruption has since been determined to be a cybersecurity event.”

Safely caring for patients and systems recovery are our top priorities. Our admissions, visits to our emergency department, surgeries and visits to primary and specialty care clinics continue to increase daily. We are providing high-quality care for patients in our community as we are safely able to do so.

We have made significant progress and are bringing more systems and capabilities online every day. We are methodically working to determine whether computer infrastructure and applications are safe to use and able to function properly, and that is taking time. We will continue to provide details about the situation as we are able. We regret any inconvenience this event has caused our staff, patients and community.”

How to respond to an attack

If your doctor’s office or hospital is hit in a cyberattack, you should do what you’d do in any data breach — keep an eye on your credit reports for anything unusual.

You can even put a fraud alert on your accounts or freeze them.

Additionally, you should pay attention to and follow up on unusual medical bills.



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