- Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has been targeted by a possible ransomware attack Thursday night.
- As a precautionary measure, the hospital took all of its IT systems offline.
- Non-emergency surgeries have been rescheduled and the hospital is diverting EMS patients to other facilities.
- Ransomware attacks on hospitals or other medical facilities have increased by more than 200 percent in recent years.
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH), one of North Florida’s largest medical centers, reported that it suffered an IT security issue late Thursday night. The hospital did not specify if patient medical records or personal data have been breached.
TMH subsequently took all of its IT systems offline and states that its IT department detected the issue and is working to resolve it.
“Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) is managing an IT security issue that occurred late Thursday night and is impacting some of our IT systems. As a precautionary measure, we have taken our IT systems offline,” said the hospital in a statement.
As a result, the facility rescheduled all of its non-emergency patient appointments and is diverting EMS patients elsewhere.
— Tallahassee Memorial (@TMHFORLIFE) February 3, 2023
Hospital ransomware attacks more than doubled between the years of 2016 and 2021, according to a study conducted in part by University of Florida (UF) Health dean of Public Health and Health Professions Beth A.Virnig.
The study detailed that 374 ransomware attacks were carried out against clinics, hospitals, dental offices, diagnostic laboratories, emergency medical services, and other healthcare delivery organizations during the sampled timeframe, exposing the personal information of approximately 42 million patients nationwide.
“Like all healthcare organizations, the threat of ransomware attacks is one of our biggest security concerns,” said David R. Nelson, president of UF Health. “The finding that these attacks are becoming more frequent and more complex is particularly worrisome.”
Ransomware attacks have become increasingly prevalent within the operating framework of Florida’s healthcare environment, with major hospital systems suffering from crippling attacks that affect the delivery of critical care.
According to the study, ransomware attacks introduce malware into organizations’ electronic systems designed to disrupt operations until payment demands are met.
In late 2022, hackers breached the computer system networks of Broward Health, one of the largest hospital system’s in the state, accessing data including social security numbers, driver’s license information, and the home addresses of more than 1 million patients.
Similarly, Jackson Health System in North Florida faced a ransomware attack last January.