Ascension hospital cyber attack started after individual clicked on malicious file

It was an honest mistake that led to a weeks-long cyber attack that stifled operations for Ascension hospitals in Michigan and around the U.S.

According to a statement from the spokesperson at Ascension Healthcare Company said an individual working at one of the hospital system's facilities accidentally downloaded a malicious file they thought was legitimate. 

Instead, the attackers created headaches for doctors and nurses who couldn't pull up patient files and struggled to provide timely care in the emergency room. 

They were able to hack into seven of the company's 25,000 servers within Ascension's network, possibly giving them access to files with private health information for certain individuals. 

Despite the technical problems that accompanied the cyber attack, there is no evidence that data was taken from the hospital's records, which is where patient records are securely stored.

"Right now, we don’t know precisely what data was potentially affected and for which patients. In order to reach those conclusions, we need to conduct a full review of the files that may have been impacted and carefully analyze them," the statement read.

Ascension says they will be providing patients with "complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection services" to anyone who requests it free of charge.

Individuals can enroll by calling 1-888-498-8066.

The health care company plans to conduct a full review of files that may have been impacted - though it will take time before the full scope of the cyber attack is revealed.


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