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Cyberattack Forces Memorial Health System to Cancel Surgeries, Divert Patients

Not-for-profit integrated health organization Memorial Health System is in the process of restoring operations after falling victim to a cyberattack on Sunday.

The health system operates three hospitals (Marietta Memorial Hospital, Selby General Hospital, and Sistersville General Hospital) and multiple provider clinics and outpatient service sites.

On August 15, the organization announced that it fell victim to a cyberattack that forced it to suspend “user access to information technology applications.” The incident resulted in disrupted clinical and financial operations, including suspended medical exams, cancelled surgeries, and patients being diverted to other facilities.

In a statement on Wednesday, Memorial Health System president and CEO Scott Cantley revealed that the organization has been working with cybersecurity experts to address the attack, and said that recovery operations have started.

“We have reached a negotiated solution and are beginning the process that will restore operations as quickly and as safely as possible. We are following a deliberate, systematic approach to bring systems back online securely and in a manner that prioritizes our ability to provide patient care. This could happen as early as Sunday," Cantley said.

He also noted that no patient or employee data appears to have been publicly released or disclosed. On Sunday, Cantley claimed that the attackers did not compromise “known patient or employee personal or financial information.”

Cantley also noted that the health system was able to “maintain safe and effective patient care” throughout the incident, but said that additional security improvements will be implemented, to prevent similar incidents.

While Cantley did not provide information on the nature of the incident, it appears that ransomware might have been used, and the CEO’s statement suggests that the organization was able to negotiate with the attackers.

Bleeping Computer reported that the attack appears to have been carried out by a cybercrime group that uses the Hive ransomware. The hackers, known for leaking information stolen from victims, claimed that they did actually obtain patient information.

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