The Devastating Results of Ransomware Attacks: Illinois Hospital Closes

Cyber Security, Newsletter

A Hospital in Illinois (US) has has announced it will be closing after failing to financially recover from a Ransomware Attack which hit the hospital in 2021 which halted the hospital’s ability to submit claims to insurers, Medicare or Medicaid for months, sending it into a financial spiral.

St. Margaret’s Health in Spring Valley, Illinois, is set to close its doors this week, marking a grim milestone in the continuing struggle against cyber crime. The move was confirmed by Linda Burt, the hospital’s Vice President of Quality and Community Services. Suzanne Stahl, the Chair of SMP Health, the hospital’s parent organisation, indicated last month that the closure was imminent. In a recent Facebook video, she stated, “Due to a number of factors, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the cyber attack on the computer system of St. Margaret’s Health, and a shortage of staff, it has become impossible to sustain our ministry.” .

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware Attacks are methods by which malicious threat actors remotely disable a business’s computers, encrypt and/or copy files, and demand a ransom payment to restore access or prevent a leak of data. Cyber Security analysts have estimated that there have been approximately 300 documented attacks a year on US healthcare facilities alone since 2020.

This is just a single example of the potential devastating consequences that ransomware attacks can have, not only on a business, but in this case the far reaching effects it can have on an entire community. Spring Valley’s mayor, Melanie Malooley-Thompson, expressed her concerns over the impact on local residents, some of whom will now have to travel approximately half an hour to access Emergency and Maternity services. She noted in a Facebook post, “The hospital closure will have a profound impact on the well-being of our community. This will be a challenging transition for many residents who rely on our hospital for quality healthcare.”.

At One2Call we work with businesses, including care home providers, throughout the UK to ensure that they have the best Cyber Security solutions in place to be protected in the ever evolving world of Cyber Threats. Our Cyber Security Self Assessment form, which can be downloaded below, covers all of the key pillars of a comprehensive Cyber Security solution such as;

  • Active Email Threat Protection: This Monitors your Email for Phishing and Targeted Attacks. Using advanced artificial intelligence tools, it is able to monitor for changes in language, brand impersonation attempts, malicious files, check links for legitimacy and much more.
  • Endpoint Detection & Response: Compared to Traditional Signature Based Anti-Virus which can only monitor for known viruses, Endpoint Detection & Response uses Artificial Intelligence to monitor for unusual, suspicious or malicious activity on any of your endpoints/devices and stop it in its tracks.
  • Dark Web Monitoring: Do you know what the Dark Web is? Do you know if any of your business account credentials could be available on the dark web for anyone to find and use to access your accounts? Our Dark Web monitoring service scours the Dark Web to find if your details have been leaked and notify us and you, so that we can work with you to help you secure your online accounts.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: MFA/2FA can secure you accounts against unauthorised access, even if your account details have been leaked on the dark web, without your unique 2FA/MFA code malicious threat actors can not access your accounts. We can work with your business to implement Multi-Factor Authentication across your accounts.
  • Backups: A strong Backup Policy ensure that your business can recover from data loss or encryption attacks quickly and easily. Cyber Attackers have become smart to businesses using a comprehensive backup solution and in recent years have started to target these as part of their attacks, this is why we have implemented Immutable Backups. These backups are “Read Only” meaning that they can not be deleted or targeted as part of a cyber attack, ensuring that you always have a backup to recover from.
  • MUCH more, including; Password Policies, Security Awareness Training, Patch Policy Management, SIEM/Log Management, Mobile Device Management & Security, Firewall & Encryption.

To find out about all of this and much more, download our FREE Cyber Security Self Assessment form where we can work with you to ensure that your business has the best Cyber Security policies in place to protect your business from potentially having to close as the result of a Ransomware attack.

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