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HomeNewsRoss Memorial Hospital Says A Number Of Its Systems Were Severely Damaged...

Ross Memorial Hospital Says A Number Of Its Systems Were Severely Damaged In February Cyber Attack Leaving Them Unusable

KAWARTHA LAKES-Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH)is releasing more information on the extent of the damage after a cyber attack in February.

Officials have determined that a number of its systems – including its legacy MediPatient database – were so severely impacted by the Incident (through encryption and/or corruption), that some of its applications and data were rendered unusable.

Kawartha 411 News was first to report on the attack after hearing from sources at the hospital. Read more here:https://www.kawartha411.ca/2023/02/07/suspected-ransomware-attack-disables-some-systems-at-ross-memorial-hospital/

They also provided the following additional information given these findings. 

On February 5 the hospital’s IT team was informed that staff were having difficulties accessing certain systems. The IT team investigated these issues and identified unusual activity in the environment.  As a result, RMH declared an IT Code Grey and retained external third-party experts to provide cyber incident response services to assist RMH in its containment, investigation, and recovery efforts.

Officials say by February 6, 2023 (i.e., approximately 24 hours), the Incident was considered contained.

Following its investigation, the personal health information (“PHI”) of 847 RMH patients was
identified as having been affected and accessed without authorization. These patients have
been directly notified by RMH.

Other RMH databases storing legacy health information, including (for example) admission
and discharge information, diagnostic imaging orders, and reports and consultation notes, were encrypted and/or corrupted because of the Incident, and several systems were left inoperable (e.g., MediPatient) (collectively, the “Corrupted Records”).  Corrupted Records include data in a file that may have been accessed without authorization, but RMH can’t confirm given the nature of the Incident and the state in which the data was left (i.e., it has become unusable, unreadable or inaccessible). According to officials if data has been corrupted, RMH does not have any evidence to suggest this information was removed from our systems during the Incident.

They also provided the following additional information given these findings.

How Might You Have Been Impacted? 

The investigation identified that these Corrupted Records may have contained certain types of legacy patient data if you were a patient at RMH between the 1960s and February 5, 2023. 

In such cases, a copy of your inpatient/outpatient visit information and/or physician dictation (e.g., Attending provider, Radiologist, Pathologist, Surgeon) was corrupted by the Incident. These Corrupted Records may have included the following types of PHI: 

  • OHIP number,
  • Demographic information (name, address),
  • Personal contacts (e.g., home address, next of kin],
  • Lab results,
  • Diagnostic Imaging results,
  • Surgery results,
  • Encounter details (e.g., visit date, providers, visit reason),
  • Surgical encounter details (e.g., procedures, surgeon, attending providers, nurses, patient vitals, discharge status, vital status),
  • PHS/HSM,
  • Medication usage (e.g., ED and IP),
  • ECG results,
  • Falls and/or drug/med errors.

In most cases, RMH was successful in restoring records of visits and supporting documentation between the 1960s and Feb 5, 2023.  However, a subset of these Corrupted Records may have been impacted to the point where, unfortunately, we are no longer able to access them. Officials say while this patient data may have been subject to unauthorized access, encryption, and/or corruption, there is no indication of any malicious use of PHI as a result of the Incident.

What Did The Hospital Do to Respond?

  • RMH took multiple steps to contain and remediate the Incident, including:
  • Worked around the clock to remediate the Incident while also engaging leading third-party cybersecurity experts to conduct a detailed investigation into what happened.
  • Immediately severing access to the Internet and all third-party networks, while maintaining our highest possible standards of patient care.
  • Completing password resets across the organization.
  • Strengthening security controls and maintaining constant monitoring throughout the RMH environment.
  • Notifying the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (“IPC”) in compliance with provincial health information legislation.

What Can You Do?

While officials stress there is no indication that any information involved in the Incident has been misused, we would like to remind you to be diligent in monitoring your accounts, and pay close attention for incidents of fraud and identity theft.

If you would like to get in touch with ServiceOntario regarding your health card number, you can visit any of ServiceOntario’s centres, their website, or call them (toll-free in Canada) at 1-800-267- 8097.

As noted above, the IPC has been notified of the Incident. To file a complaint, please visit:

Forms


RMH will not contact you by email requesting you to provide or verify sensitive personal information. When in doubt or if you have any concerns about the validity of any emails RMH sends, please contact us as indicated below.

It is unclear if any money was paid out in the cyber attack or how much it cost the hospital to contain and repair the damage.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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