NATIONAL NEWS

Cyberattack keeps hospitals’ computers offline for weeks

Aug 18, 2023, 1:26 PM

A man leaves the Los Angeles Community Hospital in Los Angeles on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. Hospitals, ...

A man leaves the Los Angeles Community Hospital in Los Angeles on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. Hospitals, including this one, and clinics in several states on Friday began the time-consuming process of recovering from a cyberattack that disrupted their computer systems, forcing some emergency rooms to shut down and ambulances to be diverted. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Key computer systems at hospitals and clinics in several states have yet to come back online more than two weeks after a cyberattack that forced some emergency room shutdowns and ambulance diversions.

Progress is being made “to recover critical systems and restore their integrity,” Prospect Medical Holdings said in a Friday statement. But the company, which runs 16 hospitals and dozens of other medical facilities in California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas, could not say when operations might return to normal.

“We do not yet have a definitive timeline for how long it will be before all of our systems are restored,” spokeswoman Nina Kruse said in a text message. “The forensic investigation is still underway and we are working closely with law enforcement officials.”

The recovery process can often take weeks, with hospitals in the meantime reverting to paper systems and people to monitor equipment, run records between departments and do other tasks usually handled electronically, John Riggi, the American Hospital Association’s national advisor for cybersecurity and risk, said at the time of the breach.

The attack, which was announced Aug. 3, had all the hallmarks of extortive ransomware but officials would neither confirm nor deny this. In such attacks, criminals steal sensitive data from targeted networks, activate encryption malware that paralyzes them and demand ransoms.

The FBI advises victims not to pay ransoms as there is no guarantee the stolen data won’t eventually be sold on dark web criminal forums. Paying ransoms also encourages the criminals and finances attacks, Riggi said.

As a result of the attack, some elective surgeries, outpatient appointments, blood drives and other services are still postponed.

Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which includes Rockville General and Manchester Memorial hospitals as well as a number of clinics and primary care providers, was running Friday on a temporary phone system.

Waterbury Hospital has been using paper records in place of computer files since the attack but is no longer diverting trauma and stroke patients to other facilities, spokeswoman Lauresha Xhihani told the Republican-American newspaper.

“PMH physicians, nurses, and staff are trained to provide care when our electronic systems are not available,” Kruse wrote. “Delivering safe, quality care is our most important priority.”

Globally, the health care industry was the hardest-hit by cyberattacks in the year ending in March, according to IBM’s annual report on data breaches. For the 13th straight year it reported the most expensive breaches, averaging $11 million each. Next was the financial sector at $5.9 million.

Health care providers are a common target for criminal extortionists because they have sensitive patient data, including histories, payment information, and even critical research data, Riggi said.

National News

Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law to raise minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 per hour

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California fast food workers will be paid at least $20 per hour next year under a new law signed Thursday by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. When it takes effect on April 1, fast food workers in California will have among the highest minimum wages in the country, according to data compiled […]

37 minutes ago

Associated Press

Menendez will address Senate colleagues about his bribery charges as calls for his resignation grow

WASHINGTON (AP) — With calls for his resignation increasing, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is expected on Thursday to address his Democratic Senate colleagues for the first time since he was indicted on federal bribery charges. More than half of Senate Democrats have said he should step down. But Menendez, who is scheduled to speak […]

60 minutes ago

FILE - Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in h...

Associated Press

Colleges should step up their diversity efforts after affirmative action ruling, the government says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is asking America’s colleges to renew their efforts to make campuses more racially diverse, urging schools to boost scholarships and minority recruiting and to give “meaningful consideration” to the adversity students face because of their race or finances. The Education Department Supreme Court decision in June barring colleges from […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Jury to decide fate of delivery driver who shot YouTube prankster following him

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — Defense attorneys argued Thursday that their client was acting in self defense when he shot a YouTube prankster who followed him around a mall food court earlier this year. The jury began deliberations in the trial of Alan Colie, 31, a DoorDash driver charged with aggravated malicious wounding and firearms counts […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Search for man who police say shot deputy and another person closes schools in South Carolina

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — The daylong search for a man who investigators say shot two people, including a sheriff’s deputy, along the South Carolina coast led officials to close several schools Thursday. Deputies have been looking for Ernest Robert Burbage III on Johns Island since about noon Wednesday, when they said he fired shots, […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Ringo Starr on ‘Rewind Forward,’ writing country music, the AI-assisted final Beatles track and more

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There are rock stars, and then there is Ringo Starr — drummer for the Beatles, award-winning soloist, photographer, narrator, actor, activist. To call him prolific would almost shortchange his accomplishments. But it also feels right. “Rewind Forward,” out October 13, is his fourth extended play release in three years. “I’ve loved […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Cyberattack keeps hospitals’ computers offline for weeks