Two more hospitals struck by ransomware, in California and Indiana

Both Alvarado Hospital Medical Center and King's Daughters' Health say that quick response times appear to have minimized potential damage.
By Mike Miliard
10:55 AM

The steady drumbeat of ransomware attacks continued this past week with new reports of two hospitals forced to fight off malware that froze IT systems.

San Diego-based Alvarado Hospital Medical Center was hit by a "malware disruption" on March 31, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. A spokesperson for the 306-bed hospital confirmed the cyber attack, but would not say which systems had been affected.

Alvarado was the third hospital owned by Prime Healthcare Services to be hit with malware in March; Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital had also been affected by viruses but were able to recover systems with minimal disruption and without having to pay ransom.

[Also: Looking to improve cybersecurity? Fire some CEOs]

For its part, Alvarado said it had taken "extraordinary steps to protect and expeditiously find a resolution to this disruption," according to a statement provided to the Union-Tribune, but offered little other detail except to say patient and employee records had not been compromised.

"The hospital remains fully operational, and no patients have been turned away. All significant clinical systems needed for operations are fully functional," said hospital spokesperson Laura Gilbert. "Our IT team took great efforts to protect and restore our systems and a ransom was never paid."

Meanwhile, another hospital, this one in southeast Indiana, said it proactively powered down all its computer systems on Wednesday, after discovering that a single employee's file had been infected with Locky ransomware virus.

King's Daughters' Health officials told Indiana's WSCH radio that patient data was secure and had not been compromised, and that it would restart its computer systems once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, KDH is using manual processes to continue operations.

Linda Darnell, the hospital's senior director of IT, told the station that ongoing staff education about these evolving cyber threats had helped employees act quickly to contain the Locky virus once it was found.

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