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Change Healthcare Cyberattack Causes Significant Disruption

Change Healthcare is experiencing network disruptions after taking systems offline in response to a cyberattack.

US healthcare technology giant Change Healthcare on Wednesday fell victim to a cyberattack that resulted in widespread network disruptions.

The incident was initially disclosed on February 21 at 02:15 EST, when the company announced that some of its applications are unavailable.

In an update at 08:38 EST, Change Healthcare said that it was experiencing enterprise-wide connectivity issues as result of the incident. Over 100 applications across dental, pharmacy, medical record, clinical, enrollment, patient engagement, revenue, and payment services were listed as affected.

“Change Healthcare is experiencing a network interruption related to a cyber security issue and our security experts are working to address the matter. The disruption is expected to last at least through the day,” the company said six hours later.

In the afternoon, Change Healthcare also disclosed that the disruption was caused by an outside threat and that it had disconnected its systems to contain the incident.

While Change Healthcare did not say what type of cyberattack it fell victim to, ransomware might have been involved, given that the typical response to such an attack is to disconnect the affected systems from the network.

In 2022, Change Healthcare merged with Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, creating one of the largest healthcare technology companies in the US. The organization handles payment processes for healthcare providers and payers across the country.

The company has access to the medical records of roughly one third of US patients, handling billions of healthcare transactions per year, and the disruption has had a significant impact on the healthcare system, with some pharmacies being unable to process prescriptions.

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“Due to a nationwide outage from the largest prescription processor in North America, we are currently unable to process prescriptions at any of our four locations of Scheurer Family Pharmacy. We are still able to accept prescriptions, but unable to process them through your insurance,” Scheurer Health announced.

SecurityWeek has emailed UnitedHealth Group for a comment on the cyberattack and will update this article as soon as a reply arrives.

Related: French Healthcare Payments Processor Breaches Affect Half of Population

Related: HMG Healthcare Says Data Breach Impacts 40 Facilities

Related: CISA Flags Gaps in Healthcare Org’s Security Posture, Issues Security Guidance

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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