Memorial Health System forced to cancel surgeries after ransomware attack

Pierluigi Paganini August 23, 2021

Health organization Memorial Health System was hit by a disruptive cyber attack that forced it to cancel surgeries and divert patients last week.

The Memorial Health System announced that was hit by a disruptive cyber attack that forced it to suspend some of its operations. The organization operates the Marietta Memorial Hospital, the Selby General Hospital, and the Sistersville General Hospital, along with multiple provider clinics and outpatient service sites.

The attack disrupted clinical and financial operations, the organization suspended medical exams, cancelled surgeries, and patients have been diverted to other locations.

“Memorial Health System experienced an information technology security incident in the early morning hours this morning, August 15, 2021. As a result, we suspended user access to information technology applications related to our operations. We have implemented extensive information technology security protocols and is working diligently with security partners to restore information operations as quickly as possible.” reads the statement published by the company. “Federal law enforcement has also been notified.In the meantime, while this matter may result in temporary disruptions to certain aspects of our clinical and financial operations, we will continue to provide exceptional care to our community”

Memorial Health System president and CEO Scott Cantley said that the patient or employee data haven’t been publicly released or disclosed, he also added that the organization has been working with cybersecurity experts to mitigate the attack and recovery operations.

“We have reached a negotiated solution and are beginning the process that will restore operations as quickly and as safely as possible. We are following a deliberate, systematic approach to bring systems back online securely and in a manner that prioritizes our ability to provide patient care. This could happen as early as Sunday,” says Memorial Health System president and CEO Scott Cantley. “As we conduct our IT remediation work, our security experts have been monitoring and have not noted any indication that any patient or employee data has been publicly released or disclosed,” he said.

Cantley explained that its group is going to implement additional security improvements to prevent similar incidents.

The type of problems suffered by the organization suggests that it was hit by a ransomware attack, the statement of the CEO also refers to a negotiation to restore operations.

Researchers from Bleeping Computer speculate that the Memorial Health System was hit by Hive ransomware gang, a group that has been active since late June and that already targeted multiple victims.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Memorial Health System)

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