December 2, 2022

St. Joseph’s / Candler, police investigate after hospital computer network affected by ransomware

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SAVANNAH, Ga (WTOC) – UPDATE: On Monday, St. Joseph’s / Candler Public Relations and Digital Officer Scott Larson made the following statement to OMCC: “As we continue to investigate the incident, we are working to run as fast and as surely as possible. Our priority is patient care, and our staff are committed to doing everything in their power to mitigate disruption and provide uninterrupted care to our patients. “

The investigation is ongoing at St. Joseph’s / Candler Health System after a ransomware attack Thursday.

Hospital officials say they took immediate steps to isolate the system and limit the potential impact.

Patients say they were turned away for treatment while others were able to enter as usual.

The ransomware attack on St. Joseph’s / Candler Health System worries many in our community. Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong Campus Professor Frank Katz, assistant professor of information technology and director of the Center for Applied Cyber ​​Education, said such crimes are becoming more and more common.

“The bad guy really isn’t really looking all the way to your Instagram profile. It really isn’t, they can get it, but what they’re really trying to do is what we call a denial of service attack, i.e. deny service to hospital and extort money from them to get their service back, ”Katz mentioned.

Katz says those who are concerned about the cybersecurity of the healthcare system should change their passwords, check their credit report, and be aware of links, messages and more. He says hospitals have already fallen victim.

“It’s getting a little more mainstream and the idea of ​​hitting a hospital like I said gives that sense of urgency, a whole slew of employees who have their information, as well as patient information and therefore l “hospital versus a company like Gulfstream or like JCB or some other big company in Savannah, doesn’t provide all of this information that a hospital would provide,” Katz said.

Katz says without a better picture of the attack on St. Joseph’s / Candler, it’s not clear how long it will last or when it will be resolved.

While some patients we spoke to say they left without treatment, others were able to continue with their procedures using paper and pencil. A spokesperson for the healthcare system said they are prioritizing patient care using back-up processes. They say it is extremely important to protect the investigation, but will share updates where appropriate. Katz says crimes like this are difficult for authorities to work on.

“They have experts who are able to go and see how the data was attacked or how the system was attacked and work back and forth to try to determine who the hacker was, maybe they can get at least one address. Internet Protocol, “Katz said.

St. Joseph’s / Candler said in a statement that if any personal or health information is involved, they will notify those affected.

They released the following statement to OMCC on Thursday afternoon:

“On the morning of June 17, St. Joseph’s / Candler became aware of suspicious activity on the computer network. As a safety measure, SJ / C took immediate steps to isolate the systems and limit the potential impact.

We also quickly opened an investigation into the extent of the incident, which is ongoing and in its early stages, although SJ / C has confirmed that the incident involved ransomware. The police have been notified. If we determine that personal or health information is involved in this incident, we will notify those individuals in accordance with applicable law.

Nothing is more important to us than continuing to provide the care our patients expect. Patient care operations continue at our facilities using established backup processes and other downtime procedures. Our doctors, nurses and staff are trained to provide care in these types of situations and are committed to doing everything possible to mitigate disruption and provide uninterrupted care to our patients.

We thank our patients for their patience during this time and apologize for any delays they may experience as we continue to work diligently to remedy this situation. We will continue to provide updates as appropriate. “

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