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Ardent Health Services Deals with Ransomware Attack, ER Diversions in Three States

Ardent Health Services, a network of 30 hospitals across at least three states, experienced a ransomware attack that led to the disruption of emergency rooms. Patients had to be redirected for at least two days because of this incident.

The attack also compromised a system that allowed for remote video conferences with physicians and patient portals used for appointment booking.

Ardent Health Services, which manages 30 hospitals across the United States, announces a massive ransomware attack in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. This incident forced the organisation to take quick action.

A cyberattack on Ardent Health Services caused the incident on Thanksgiving Day, which resulted in a disruption of emergency services at many hospitals across three states. The healthcare facilities became unusable because of the hackers’ successful disruption of the computer networks. To have the systems released, they demanded a ransom.

This is similar of a ransomware attack that occurred in Germany a little more than three years ago, which was said to be the very first case of a cyberattack that was related to a death.

In the meantime, Ardent Health Services seems to be efficient at sending new patients to nearby hospitals. However, some patients may have paid more for care at urgent care centres because of different service interruptions.

The Ardent hospital chains—Hillcrest HealthCare in Oklahoma, Lovelace Health in New Mexico, and UT Health in Texas—have acknowledged the movement of patients from some emergency departments to alternate healthcare facilities.

Ardent Health Offensive Causes Defensive Network Failures

According to Ardent Health Services’ data breach statement on November 27, the ransomware attack started early on November 23. The organisation took defensive steps to mitigate the attack by shutting down different areas of its network, which led to continuous disruptions for many days.

Notably, emergency rooms (ERs) experienced significant diversions on the day of the attack, with nearly half of them resuming patient care by the 24th.

Ardent suddenly stopped important online services, including essential clinical programmes and the use of Epic Systems, a platform needed for monitoring patients’ healthcare information.

Ardent Health Services said it is working carefully to restore all systems. Certain services, however, are now unavailable. Although emergency departments are strongly examining patients and stabilising their treatment, some functions may still be outsourced.

Rescheduled operations include non-emergency surgeries as well as other treatments. To ensure the best possible care for its patients, Ardent Health Services is dedicated to immediately resolving these issues.

Regarding the incident, the organisation has neither acknowledged or denied any patient or financial information theft. Now, On-Demand Video Visits and the MyChart patient interface are both temporarily unavailable.

Currently, the Ardent Health Services website is experiencing periodic page loading issues. A specific time for the complete return of function has not yet been specified.

Two New Jersey hospitals that previously refused all emergency patients are now accepting all cases, with the exception of some cardiac sufferers. Hackensack Meridian’s Westwood and Montclair locations have eased their limitations. Meanwhile, hospitals in the UT Health Network in Texas have stopped redirecting patients.

Early on in these kinds of attacks, it’s common to find that no ransomware group has claimed credit. Attackers frequently wait for an opportunity for negotiations before acknowledging anything.

Attackers using ransomware are more likely to target hospitals because they may force victims to pay to resume regular operations while also having the opportunity to steal important patient data that might be sold for more money than the ransom.

Phishing Tackle offers a free 14-day trial to help train your users to avoid these types of attacks and test their knowledge with simulated attacks using various attack vectors. By focusing on training your users to spot these types of attacks, rather than relying solely on technology, you can ensure that your organisation is better prepared to defend against cyber threats and minimise the impact of any successful attacks.

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