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Ascension Health Faces New Challenges Following Cyberattack

Bring out the backup procedures.
Emily Hill
Contributing Writer
Rushing ambulance with a coding overlay.

As the cyberattack on the Ascension Healthcare Network continues to unfold, new developments have forced the diversion of ambulances and further strained the network’s ability to provide essential services. Since the initial breach, Ascension has faced escalating challenges as the Black Basta ransomware group disrupts more than just electronic health records and communication systems.

The response has involved federal authorities and continued reliance on emergency backup procedures to manage patient care across the network’s extensive system of hospitals and senior living facilities. The cyberattack’s persistence highlights vulnerabilities within the U.S. healthcare infrastructure, prompting urgent discussions about cybersecurity readiness and response strategies.

Why it matters: This update is crucial as it sheds light on the intense cyber threats facing large healthcare providers and the broader implications for patient safety and data security. The situation at Ascension is a high-profile example of the extensive consequences that cyberattacks can have on healthcare operations and patient care.

  • Extended Impact: Since our last report, Ascension has had to divert ambulances to alternative hospitals due to the cyberattack’s ongoing disruption. The situation has necessitated the adoption of downtime procedures, including the use of paper records, to continue providing care without access to critical systems.
  • Black Basta Ransomware: The attack has been attributed to the Black Basta ransomware, a tool used by a notorious group that has previously targeted healthcare organizations. The cybercriminals behind this attack are part of a trend of ransomware attacks that have grown more sophisticated and targeted.
  • Federal Response and Advisory: In response to the incident, federal agencies including the FBI and CISA have issued advisories and are closely coordinating with Ascension to manage the crisis. These agencies have also issued broader warnings about the increasing threat of ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure, including healthcare.
  • Ongoing Recovery Efforts: Ascension continues to work with cybersecurity firm Mandiant to restore its systems safely and securely. Recovery has been slow, and full functionality is still being restored across different facilities.

Go Deeper -> Cybersecurity Event Update – Ascension

After Ascension ransomware attack, feds issue alert on Black Basta group – The Record

Cyberattack forces major US health care network to divert ambulances from hospitals – CNN

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