Heritage Valley Health System’s offices closed after hack

Fourteen of Heritage Valley Health System’s community offices are closed Wednesday after a hack Tuesday. Lab and diagnostic services have been closed at the satellite offices after Heritage Valley became a part of a worldwide worldwide cyberattack.

Marketing and Communications Director Suzanne Sakson released the following statement on the incident Wednesday morning:

“In response to yesterday’s cyber security incident, Heritage Valley is confident that it has identified the cause and is systematically restoring registration, clinical patient and ancillary care systems. Information technology teams in collaboration with cyber security experts continue to mitigate the situation in order to ensure ongoing safe patient care.”

They released a second statement a half hour later:

“Protecting the confidentiality of patient information is our priority. Our investigation is ongoing and we are diligently working to determine whether the incident involved any access to confidential information. At this time we have found no evidence that information has been accessed, but our investigation continues. We want to provide you with accurate information and that is why completing our investigation is so important.”

The health system is the latest to fall victim to ransom-ware attacks. Over the last several years hospitals and medical facilities have been targeted by hackers who are taking advantage of security flaws in the increasingly connected computer systems.

It has been such an issue that the FBI has created PSA’s and full awareness campaigns to warn organizations about the potential for attacks.

Supervisory Special Agent Greg Heeb of FBI Pittsburgh told RabbleVID, “We are of the situation and have been in contact with officials at Heritage Valley Health.” He declined to comment further.

Hackers have been able to install ransom-ware, computer programs that essentially take over access to computer systems. They threaten to cripple the systems unless the organizations pay exorbitant amounts, typically in untraceable Bitcoin currency.

According to the Associated Press, Ukraine and other parts of Europe were hit particularly hard by the new strain of ransomware.

As the malware began to spread across the United States, it affected companies such as Merck and Mondelez International, the owner of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco. But its pace appeared to slow as the day wore on.

The origins of the malware remain unclear.