Ransomware Attack Causes Alabama Hospital System to Turn Patients Away

Ransomware Attack Causes Alabama Hospital System to Turn Patients Away

In the latest ransomware attack scourge, three hospitals in Alabama were able to continue serving existing patients but said they could not take new cases.

Following a ransomware attack on the DCH Health System, three hospitals in Alabama were forced to turn away “all but the most critical new patients” on Oct. 1. 

The system attack affected all three locations in Tuscaloosa, Fayette and Northport. The hospital system released a statement acknowledging that the hackers have limited their ability to use computer systems unless they pay an “as-yet unknown” ransom. 

“Our staff is caring for the patients who are currently in the hospital, and we have no plans to transfer current patients,” DCH said in a statement on Tuesday. “Local ambulances have been instructed to take patients to other hospitals if at all possible. Patients who come to our emergency departments may be transferred to another hospital when they are stabilized.”

Following the discovery of the attack on Tuesday, DCH immediately implemented emergency procedures to continue to provide “critical medical services” to its patients, according to a DCH update on Wednesday. The hospitals encouraging people with non-emergency needs to go to other providers, though some outpatient procedures are still being conducted at the hospitals depending on the appointment. 

“We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience as we work through our emergency procedures to resume normal operations,” DCH said in the statement. 

Security experts weighed in on the attack as cities, hospitals and schools across the country grapple with a rise in ransomware attacks. A new study by cybersecurity firm Emsisoft found that there have been at least 621 such attacks this year alone that could have cost upward of $186 million in damages. 

Dan Tuchler, the CMO at SecurityFirst, said that medical facilities have accelerated their transition to electronic health record systems in recent years to become more efficient and accessible.

“But this leaves them more exposed to hackers, including ransomware, and extending to their financial IT systems as well,” Tuchler said. “This is unacceptable. There are well-established best practices for protecting data on servers, and we should never have to read about a hospital turning away patients due to ransomware, as happened in this case.”

Tim Erlin, the vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire, said the ransomware attack points to existing cybersecurity flaws within the system. 

“The reality is that ransomware doesn’t just appear on a system,” Erlin said. “It has to get there through some other means, whether that’s phishing, a vulnerable system or a combination of those, the key to preventing ransomware infections is to close of the avenues for infection.” 

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    The Importance of Proactive Security Measures: 4 Stories of Regret

    We all want to believe that crime won’t happen to us. So, some business owners hope for the best and put proactive security measures on the back burner, because other things like growth, attracting new customers, and meeting deadlines all seem more pressing. Read Now

  • 91 Percent of Security Leaders Believe AI Set to Outpace Security Teams

    Bugcrowd recently released its “Inside the Mind of a CISO” report, which surveyed hundreds of security leaders around the globe to uncover their perception on AI threats, their top priorities and evolving roles, and common myths directed towards the CISO. Among the findings, 1 in 3 respondents (33%) believed that at least half of companies are willing to sacrifice their customers’ long-term privacy or security to save money. Read Now

  • Milestone Announces Merger With Arcules

    Global video technology company Milestone Systems is pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2024, it will merge with the cloud-based video surveillance solutions provider, Arcules. Read Now

  • Organizations Struggle with Outdated Security Approaches, While Online Threats Increase

    Cloudflare Inc, recently published its State of Application Security 2024 Report. Findings from this year's report reveal that security teams are struggling to keep pace with the risks posed by organizations’ dependency on modern applications—the technology that underpins all of today’s most used sites. The report underscores that the volume of threats stemming from issues in the software supply chain, increasing number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and malicious bots, often exceed the resources of dedicated application security teams. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • AC Nio

    AC Nio

    Aiphone, a leading international manufacturer of intercom, access control, and emergency communication products, has introduced the AC Nio, its access control management software, an important addition to its new line of access control solutions. 3

  • FEP GameChanger

    FEP GameChanger

    Paige Datacom Solutions Introduces Important and Innovative Cabling Products GameChanger Cable, a proven and patented solution that significantly exceeds the reach of traditional category cable will now have a FEP/FEP construction. 3

  • Compact IP Video Intercom

    Viking’s X-205 Series of intercoms provide HD IP video and two-way voice communication - all wrapped up in an attractive compact chassis. 3