CHICAGO HOSPITAL UNDER CYBER ATTACK
It seems the novelty of cybercrimes have gone down and it doesn’t make big news any further. If we go by the numbness of public and government’s sentiments with regards to cybercrimes, but for the lip service being paid for professionally handling it, we are really in for tough times. It rides roughshod over all of us, unabated and without any conclusive investigation, in most of the cases. Even if some investigative breakthroughs happen, it is limited to getting to know the name of the hacking group and whether the bad actors had government support or not. That alone cannot take us anywhere. The world in a bind.
In Sept 2020 the first known ransomware death was reported, indirectly of course. The death was caused as a consequence of a ransomware attack hit Dusseldorf University Hospital in Germany. The attack infected over 30 internal servers and disrupted emergency care. Hospital ransomware have become common now. We had one on India’s health care institution, AIIMS, New Delhi. Close on the heels of serious of such cyber-attacks worldwide, recently Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital confirmed that it had experienced a cyber-attack from an outside threat. The attack as stated led to the hospital to take its phone, email, and other systems offline on Jan 31, 2024 and caused “disruptions to its regular operations since then.”
The hospital did not specify the name of the bad actors but officially stated that it’s network was accessed by “known criminal threat actor.” This official statement makes the attack even more intriguing. When they had the evidence of “suspicious activity”, they decided to take the systems offline. Though the details put forth gives us an idea they are aware of the damage done yet officials of the hospital “did not give any timeframe for when they would be able to restore the hospital systems.” As in the case of other similar ransomware attacks, this time around too, the Chief Medical Officer during a press conference said, “this is an active and ongoing investigation. As an academic medical center, our systems are highly complex, and these incidents take time to resolve.”
It is believed that some of the problems related to the outage might take weeks to resolve. This has been the case in earlier attacks and the institutions were forced to run on degraded system for quite long, notwithstanding the huge cost involved to come back to the digitally normal functioning. The official spokesperson was not able to confirm whether staff members’ personal information was affected by the cyberattack. The network outage has impacted the hospital at Streeterville and three other locations in Chicago, Glenview and Skokie. The staffers are not able to access medical records, order prescriptions, schedule procedures, and check test results for more than a week since outage began. It is a real life Catch22 situation; the law enforcement doesn’t want the organizations to the pay the ransom and on the other side, “it is the organizational survival and being able to move forward.”
RANSOMWARE CAN POSE AN EXISTENTIAL CHALLENGE TO THE ORGANISATION ATTACKED.
Have a nice evening.