West Virginia hospital replaces computers after Petya cyberattack

Princeton Community Hospital fell victim to the global NotPetya attack on Tuesday and plans to replace the corrupted network with a newly built system.
By Jessica Davis
02:43 PM
Petya cyberattack

West Virginia-based Princeton Community Hospital is attempting to get its system back online after it was hit with the global NotPetya/Petya malware on Tuesday.

The hospital is unable to access data from old devices on the network, officials said. As a result, the hospital is working to replace computer hard drives to provide clean access to its Meditech electronic health record.

Further, the hospital placed several new computers in strategic locations beginning Wednesday night, to provide staff with basic patient information from its EHR, including patient medical history, allergies, current medications and other patient data.

[Also: Nuance still down after Petya cyberattack, offers customers alternative tools]

And it appears the hospital will have to replace its entire network: “We anticipate that within a few days, we will have significant functionality returned throughout the organization. This will be accomplished by building an entirely new network and by replacing all hard drives on all devices.”

Despite these disruptions, Princeton Community is continuing to provide all inpatient, outpatient, surgical, diagnostics, lab and radiology services.

However, the hospital is experiencing delays in processing information for radiology of non-emergency patients. Officials said those services have been deferred and or spread out across the organization.

Princeton Community is the second hospital system in the U.S. hit by the virus. 

Pennsylvania-based Heritage Valley Health System's network was also hit with the attack, officials told CBS Pittsburgh. The incident is spread throughout the $480 network, including satellite and community locations.

Nuance Communications, a major provider of voice and language tools and biopharma giant Merck were also hit. Currently, there have been more than 2,000 infections throughout 64 countries, with Ukraine hit the hardest.

Meanwhile, more security experts have confirmed: NotPetya/Petya is not ransomware, but rather a wiper virus bent on destruction. Princeton Community’s decision to replace its systems is likely the only way to regain normal function of its computers.

The goal of the virus is to damage and destruct data. As NotPetya/Petya is a wiper: it excludes restoration capabilities.

NotPetya hackers didn’t employ a command-and-control server like standard ransomware strains. Instead, Kaspersky Labs researchers said the hackers use the infection identification to store the data from each infected computer and the decryption key. Further, the generated key appears to be fake.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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