San Diego Union-Tribune health care reporter Paul Sisson was working on a home improvement project on a Sunday in early May when he received an urgent call from one of his editors. Scripps Health, the area’s second-largest health system in patient discharges, had announced that a cyberattack was forcing the shutdown of all computer systems in its four major hospitals, and the news desk needed help covering the issue. Sisson, an AHCJ member, jumped in, and ended up working until midnight.
Sisson said the typical email channels he used to contact the health system’s public affairs officers, its CEO and other sources were offline, and the hospital was limited in what it could confirm, forcing him to call on sources and skills cultivated during some 20 years of reporting. Despite Sisson’s experience, it was his first time covering a ransomware attack. He has compiled the lessons learned into a new tip sheet, which has been added to the Health IT Core Topic section of AHCJ’s website. Continue reading
You’ve probably heard (or even written about) recent ransomware attacks on hospitals. The FBI warned hospitals several days ago of the likelihood of attacks with the Ryuk ransomware and, sure enough, numerous hospitals have been hit, forcing some to resort to paper, the last thing they need with COVID-19 cases again spiking. Others have shut down email.
The Russian hackers behind the attacks are asking for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of bitcoin and with, hospitals facing the third wave of the pandemic, they expect to get it. Continue reading
Melanie Evans has been covering hospitals for many years, including for Modern Healthcare and now The Wall Street Journal. But she was not an expert on cybersecurity when the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm began making its way through computer systems across the globe in May.
Evans eventually found a great and largely uncovered story about cyberattacks and the lack of public reporting disclosures at hospitals: “Why some of the worst cyberattacks in health care go unreported.” Continue reading
The cyberattack that hit British hospitals and hundreds of other organizations in more than 100 countries last week continues to unfold and has been called unprecedented in its scope.
For health care journalists, there are important questions to ask hospitals, other health care organizations – and even their own media organizations – about their level of preparedness and response plans for such an attack. Continue reading