Ardent Health Services hit by ransomware

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Numerous hospitals affiliated with Ardent Health Services have fallen victim to a ransomware variant, forcing patients and staff to reschedule appointments or redirect those in need to alternative medical facilities. The affected healthcare institutions include Hillcrest Healthcare Systems in Oklahoma, Lovelace Health System in Mexico, and UT Health in Texas.

Adding to the growing list of impacted medical centers are Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center and Pascack Valley Medical Center, currently grappling with a network outage resulting from a malicious malware attack.

According to the latest update from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), the cyber-attack occurred on November 22, 2023, just before Thanksgiving. Initial estimates suggest that the infiltration may have taken place around November 20, 2023.

Interestingly, cybercriminals have expanded their reach beyond the United States, affecting healthcare networks in Canada. A recent incident involved diverting an emergency case across the U.S. border due to a server outage in Ontario, causing disruptions and emergency diversions.

In response to these cyber threats, Europol, in collaboration with law enforcement agencies from various countries, initiated a sting operation resulting in the arrest of six individuals responsible for victimizing more than 1800 people globally.

Ukraine Cyber Police, in coordination with Europol, conducted a search operation targeting two criminals utilizing tools associated with LockerGaga and Mega Cortex Ransomware. Unfortunately, as law enforcement focuses on dismantling one cybercriminal organization, others quickly emerge. The complexity and sophistication of cyber-crimes seem to present an ongoing challenge, unlike traditional crimes where cessation of demand can lead to effective prevention.

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