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Cyberattack Closes Emergency Rooms in Three States

Ardent Health, which oversees 30 hospitals across the U.S., said the attack impacted a “significant number” of its computerized services.

Scarlett Evans

November 29, 2023

2 Min Read
The incident shut down the hospital operator’s emergency rooms in three states
Getty

Ardent Health says it was the target of a cyberattack over Thanksgiving, in an incident that shut down the hospital operator’s emergency rooms in three states.

The hospital operator, which oversees 30 hospitals in the U.S., said the attack was detected on the morning of Nov. 23 and was identified as a ransomware attack impacting several  of its computerized services at sites in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. 

Ardent said it “cannot confirm the extent of any patient health or financial data that has been compromised,” but that it responded by taking its network offline and suspending user access.

“In an abundance of caution, our facilities are rescheduling some non-emergent, elective procedures and diverting some emergency room patients to other area hospitals until systems are back online,” the company said in the release.

An investigation to determine the cause and impact of the attack is currently underway, with Ardent saying it is “too soon” to know what data was impacted and how long the investigation may take.

Ransomware is a form of attack that holds critical data for extortion purposes, often locking users out of their systems until the ransom has been paid. According to the FBI, ransomware is the fastest-growing malware threat and the agency has previously urged businesses not to pay ransoms as there is no guarantee the attack will stop. 

Related:Cyberattack Shuts Down MGM Resorts; FBI Investigating

“We strongly, strongly discourage paying the ransom,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told a crowd in Newport News in February. “We need victims not to pay the ransom because that’s the gasoline that’s pouring on the fire. The more people pay, the price goes up and the more victims there are. So we have a shared common interest in not having the ransoms get paid.”

Cyberattacks are on the rise as companies work to implement plans to counteract them. 

Boeing recently confirmed it was dealing with a cyber incident and its impacts just days after a ransomware group announced it gained access to its system’s data.

Earlier this month the University of Michigan announced it suffered a data breach in August after hackers infiltrated its campus system and compromised student, employee and alumni information.

In September a cyberattack took down multiple systems at MGM Resorts International properties across the U.S., putting companies across the nation on high alert to ensure they were not next. 

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About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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