New York-based nonprofit health providers Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center have reported persistent challenges in restoring systems disrupted by cyberattacks earlier this month claimed by the LockBit ransomware operation, which has warned leaking the data should the hospitals fail to pay the demanded ransom by Sept. 19.
For two weeks, the hospitals have been dealing with a cybersecurity incident that forced them to divert ambulances to other local hospitals and reschedule most appointments.
The FBI, the New York State Department of Health, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services are involved in the hospitals’ recovery effort. Phone systems were restored on September 2, but several other services are still unavailable.
Carthage Area Hospital is a 25-bed facility serving both civilian and military personnel while Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is a 127-bed community hospital and regional referral center with several specialized arms for children and mental health.
The hospitals have not responded to requests for comment about the situation but published a statement September 6 on their Facebook pages confirming that they would continue canceling all appointments except those related to dialysis, cancer treatment and wound care.
While phone systems were promptly recovered, other systems remain offline, said the hospitals, which noted that only appointments related to wound care, dialysis, and cancer treatment are being received while all others have been rescheduled.
“We continue to take every step necessary to protect privacy and security and maintain as many of our services as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding,” the hospitals noted.
Such attacks follow a string of LockBit intrusions against healthcare organizations over the past year, with Siemens Healthineers subsidiary Varian Medical Systems being the group’s most recent victim.
Ransomware attacks on healthcare facilities have become a major concern for cybersecurity officials in the U.S.
Several officials at the CISA said during the Black Hat and DefCon security conferences that attacks causing ambulance diversions were particularly alarming considering how vital any extra second or minute can be to surviving certain health scares like strokes and heart attacks.