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A Hancock Regional Hospital official has confirmed that the hospital’s information system is being held hostage as part of a ransomware attack, but said patient information does not appear to have been compromised.
Rob Matt, the hospital’s chief strategy officer, said the hack occurred around 10 p.m. Thursday and was noticed by hospital employees immediately. The hack affects the hospital’s email system, electronic health records and other internal operating systems, he said.
“What we do know is that no patient information has been affected, so at this point, there’s no understanding of any consequence other than our system is being held,” Matt told IndyStar.
The hospital is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an information technology incident response company to examine the hack’s point of entry and any malware in the system, Matt said.
It’s unclear who or what is hacking the system, Matt said, but they are asking for an unspecified amount of bitcoin, a form of cryptocurrency. Matt said the hospital has not paid that ransom.
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Matt said hospital staff had been adequately trained and was able to continue to provide patient care Friday without electronic system access.
“We, like other hospitals, do disaster drills all the time, so this aligns perfectly well with drills that we’ve had throughout the years on how to continue to deliver world-class care when you have system failures or system breaches,” Matt said.
The hospital released the following statement to Fox59:
“Hancock Regional Hospital has been the victim of a criminal act by an unknown party that attempted to shut down out operations via our information systems by locking our computer network and demanding payment for a digital key to unlock it. Unfortunately this sort of behavior is widespread in the world today, and we had the misfortune to be next on the list. We are working closely with an IT incident response company and national law enforcement. At this time, we are deep into the analysis of the situation and see no indication that patient records have been removed from our network. In addition to excellent performance by our IT Department, our clinical teams have performed exceptionally well, and patient care has not been compromised. Our doors are open at Hancock Regional Hospital.”
Fox59 contributed to this article.
Call IndyStar reporter Holly Hays at (317) 444-6156. Follow her on Twitter: @hollyvhays.
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