OAN’s James Meyers
3:20 PM – Monday, November 27, 2023
Hospitals in at least three U.S. states have moved their patients out of emergency rooms after a ransomware attack struck their parent company last week.
“Ransomware is a malware designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer. By encrypting these files and demanding a ransom payment for the decryption key, cyberattackers place organizations in a position where paying the ransom is the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to their files,” according to checkpoint.com.
Ardent Health Services, which is in charge of over 30 hospitals across the country, said they were victims of a ransomware attack in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
The attack took place on Thanksgiving Day, according to Ardent.
“In an abundance of caution, our facilities are rescheduling some non-emergent, elective procedures and diverting some emergency room patients to other area hospitals until systems are back online,” the company said in a news release.
Some of the hospitals that are currently unable to accept ambulances include a 263-bed hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a 365-bed hospital in Montclair, New Jersey, and several throughout East Texas.
Ardent said that the attack had shut down their computer systems, which includes clinical programs and its use of Epic Systems, a software program that tracks health records of patients.
However, the FBI has consistently maintained that victims of ransomware attacks should not give into the demands.
Patient care “continues to be delivered safely and effectively in its hospitals, emergency rooms, and clinics,” Ardent Health said on Monday.
Ransomware attacks have repeatedly taken place against hospital chains since 2019, and in at least one instance, a ransomware attack was a major factor for one large hospital to shut down. According to experts, there have been over 35 ransomware attacks targeting U.S. health care providers this year.
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