Due to an information technology security issue, a large hospital system in northern Florida announced on Friday that it is diverting some emergency room patients and cancelling surgeries. According to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, the problem started affecting its systems late on Thursday night and led the hospital to shut down its information technology network. The hospital has not yet referred to it as a ransomware attack, calling it an “IT security issue,” despite the fact that it bore the characteristics of one.
Frequently, victims first refuse to report ransomware attacks. In a statement, the hospital said that it was delaying non-emergency patient visits through Monday and diverting some patients from the emergency room. It claimed it was not transferring any of the hospital’s present patients to other institutions. If appointments are impacted, patients will be notified immediately, spokesperson Tori Lynn Schneider said in a statement. When the systems would be completely operational again was not known. According to the hospital, it has collaborated with law enforcement.
Earlier Ireland’s public health system was attacked by ransomware
According to cybersecurity company Emsisoft, hospitals or hospital systems were the targets of 25 ransomware attacks. According to the hospital’s website, it serves 21 counties in northern Florida and southern Georgia. Its headquarters are in Tallahassee. The attack on Ireland’s public health system initially followed a depressingly predictable pattern. Hackers gained access to the company’s network in March 2021 after tricking an employee into clicking on an innocent-looking spreadsheet. Then they demanded $20 million, one of the largest ransomware payments, to undo the action. On May 14, they encrypted tonnes of the system’s data, making most of its 70,000 devices useless.
The immediate effect was scary since the hackers hacked systems that 54 hospitals and over 4,000 additional places needed to run machinery like radiation therapy machines and keep track of which drugs to dispense to which patients. Ireland’s government adopted a strict stance while medical professionals struggled to develop creative strategies to prevent sick individuals from dying.
However, the offender, a notorious Russian gang by the name of Conti, had done this countless times previously, and it continued as though its victim would finally give in. Conti has previously established a chat room on the dark web where it briefed representatives of the Health Service Executive, or HSE, the public health agency in Ireland, about its challenges. To show the HSE that it wasn’t lying, Conti claimed to have stolen 700 gigabytes of data, including the personal information of patients, workers, and contract holders.