Appalachian Regional Hospitals on emergency operations plan; computers shut down after malware injection

Daniel Tyson reports:

Appalachian Regional Hospitals in Beckley and Summers County computer systems were breached Saturday afternoon, but company officials were tight-lipped as to the extent or what information was seized by the hackers.

The hospitals’ parent company, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, issued a two-paragraph statement that their hospitals in West Virginia and Kentucky are on an Emergency Operations Plan, after hackers planted a computer virus in its electronic web-based services and electronic communications.

A spokesperson for ARH said all computers were shut down to prevent further spreading of the virus, which affected Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital and Summers County Appalachian Regional Hospital in Hinton.

By Saturday afternoon, all patient care, registration, medication, imaging and laboratory services were managed manually.

Read more on The Register-Herald.

The FBI has been called in to investigate, and patients are concerned that their personal information may have been stolen or compromised, but at this point, there’s no indication from the healthcare system that any information was exfiltrated and this may turn out to be a situation in which the data was just locked up for ransom. The biggest concern, of course, was that hospital operations were threatened, even though it sounds like the system quickly implemented its emergency plan so it could continue to provide services to patients.

Thanks to John Holstein for sending in this item.



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