A quiet morning was shattered on Thursday, November 11, as a local health center in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, came under attack by an attempted ransomware intrusion. Thundermist Health Center (THC), which also has offices located in South Kingstown and West Warwick, quickly discovered the attack after its 8 a.m. start.
Because of their IT professionals’ quick responses, no sensitive patient data was compromised in the attack. In order to combat the virus’ encroachment in their system, agents swiftly brought down a host of computer systems, regardless of infection, to halt further contamination.
While this locked employees out of certain systems, operations were able to continue on a semi-normal basis. One exception, however, were the appointments made using online health records. Because of the heightened risk to patient’s Protected Health Information (PHI), these appointments were forced to be cancelled until the attack subsided.
Although this attack represents another instance in a long list of attempted incursions into the health care industry, the robust security measures THC had in place helped to avert what could have been a major catastrophe.
Amanda Barney, the associated VP of communications and development for THC, offered this statement to media outlets: “We acted quickly to protect patient data, limit the attack and continue to provide safe patient care. Patient and employee information was not compromised. We are open and there was little impact to patient care.”
She continued by saying: “We started our emergency plan. We cancelled appointments that could not be safely completed without access to our electronic health record. We contacted the Rhode Island Department of Health and Rhode Island State Police.”
THC is continuing to work with authorities to investigate the origin of the attack. This attempted security invasion comes on the heels of a similar situation surrounding two Ohio health care systems.
Security breaches can happen at any time. Whether the attack comes in the form of Phishing scams, Drive-by attacks, or Ransomware attempts, it is absolutely imperative to have some form of strategy to handle the worst-case scenario. Strong counter-intrusion software and firewalls, top-notch IT professionals, and robust emergency plans are all superb measures for keeping your systems safe. However, there’s so much more that can be done to keep your business’ private information secure. Learn what else you can do to give yourself dependable peace of mind with HIPAAgps.