CO: Rangely District Hospital unable to access some patient records after ransomware attack

The Herald Times reports:

Rangely District Hospital (RDH) will send notices this week to patients whose records may have been involved in a ransomware attack in April 2020.

According to a press release issued June 8, parts of the hospital’s computer network were attacked by ransomware, including some files containing patients’ health information and other files necessary to view certain patient information.

Read more on The Herald Times.

The full notification by the hospital does not indicate what type of ransomware was involved or what the ransom demand was. What is a bit unusual about this incident is that the hospital was unable to recover access to some of the data records on a legacy system — not because the ransomware locked up those records, but because the ransomware locked up the proprietary software they needed to access to read the data.

Here is their description of the incident from their detailed notification on their site:

Rangely District Hospital (“RDH”) is providing notice to individuals about a privacy incident that was discovered and occurred on April 9, 2020. RDH discovered a ransomware attack on parts of its computer network that encrypted multiple files including some files containing patients’ health information and other files necessary to view certain patient information. Ransomware is a type of computer virus that encrypts files and demands that a ransom payment be made in order to unlock (decrypt) the files. RDH did not pay any ransom. The hospital has been able to recover many files from backups and other sources that were not impacted by the ransomware. There is no indication that any files with personal health information were exported or viewed by any unauthorized person as a result of the incident. However, some electronic records are unavailable or have not been recovered. RDH is mailing breach notice letters on June 8, 2020 to involved patients for whom RDH has current mailing addresses.

RDH is continuing to work on options to restore access to files in a previous “Meditech” database that RDH stopped using in August 2017. The medical record files in the Meditech database were not infected, but the proprietary software that RDH uses to be able to view those files was infected by the ransomware. That has prevented RDH from accessing some of the medical records that were entered in the database between August 2012 and August 2017. In addition, there has been loss of access to records for patients who received home health services between June 2019 and April 9, 2020.

RDH discovered the ransomware on April 9 after being alerted to difficulties with system access. RDH took immediate action to investigate and contain the incident. By April 16, RDH also hired a national cybersecurity firm to assist with the investigation and to conduct forensic analysis and monitoring of RDH’s computer systems. Based on the forensic analysis, RDH determined that a foreign threat actor first gained access on April 2, 2020, and then launched the ransomware in RDH’s network on April 9. The investigation determined that the ransomware was launched to lock RDH out of its files in an effort to extort money; it did not result in viewing or exporting of files containing any patients’ health information. The ransomware was an automated file-encryption process. RDH has not determined who is behind the ransomware but has reported this cybercrime to local and federal law enforcement officials.

The type of information that has not been recovered or to which access has been lost includes medical records entered in the Meditech database between August 2012 to August 2017, and home health records between June 2019 and April 9, 2020. These records that were encrypted by the ransomware may include names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license copies, dates of service or hospital admissions, diagnoses and conditions, treatment or procedure notes and orders, imaging studies, medications, and health insurance and claims and billing information. No credit card/debit card or bank account information was involved, and none of the files was viewed or exported from the hospital’s systems by the cybercriminal.

You can read their full notification, including their mitigation steps, here.

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