Hackers take over Indiana hospital and force ambulances to be turned away

More than 1500 US businesses have been targeted by hackers in 2021

Bevan Hurley
Friday 06 August 2021 18:54
NSO Group's Pegasus spyware 'used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists'
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A hospital in Indiana was forced to turn away ambulances after hackers crippled its IT system with ransomware.

Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis is one of several hospitals that have been targeted in a wave of cyberattacks as Covid-19 cases surge across the country.

The ransomware attack paralysed Eskenazi Health, which runs a 315-bed hospital and several community health centres, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Within hours the hospital was being forced to turn away ambulances and send patients to other hospitals, a spokesperson told the Daily Beast.

The hospital spokesperson said it had shut down some of its services in an effort to contain the malware from spreading.

Patient data had been protected, it said, but the attack was affecting its ability to treat patients requiring emergency medical help.

In a separate hacking attack, Sanford Health said it had also been targeted by cybercriminals.

CEO Bill Gassen told the Associated Press the South Dakota-headquartered healthcare provider, which runs 46 hospitals across 26 states, was working to contain the breach.

Some 1500 businesses across the United States have been hit by ransomware attacks, Reuters reported in July.

Attacks on key infrastructure such as the Colonial Pipeline and meat suppliers JBS, prompted President Joe Biden to warn last month that they could lead to a “real shooting war”.

Mr Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin the US will take “any necessary action” to stop cyber-attacks from his country, where the majority of cyberattacks are based.

The continuing attacks on hospitals and healthcare providers during a deadly pandemic in which more than 600,000 Americans have died was particularly cruel, the head of a volunteer cybersecurity organisation said.

“It puts at risk people that are already at risk,” Ohad Zaidenberg, the co-founder of the the CTI League, told the Daily Beast.

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