Safety

Ransomware Knocks Out North Carolina Health System

Hospital Safety Insider, November 2, 2017

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A variant of the so-called WannaCry virus took down a North Carolina-based health system’s network last month. FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst, North Carolina, continued to experience delays and appointment cancellations for several days after the incident, the organization reported October 20 in a statement on its website.

In an update posted on its website 11 days later, FirstHealth said its network had been restored.  FirstHealth implemented security protocols immediately after the malware was detected and downtime procedures were implemented. The organization’s information system team began the testing of each network device across all the organization’s locations. No patient information was affected, according to FirstHealth’s October 20 statement.

The malware was identified as a new variant of WannaCry, a form of ransomware that hit organizations across the globe in May. Initially, reports suggested that U.S. organizations dodged that attack. However, in June the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT released an email alert stating that two large, multistate U.S. health systems were still recovering from WannaCry infections.



 



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