McLaren HealthCare, one of the largest healthcare systems in Michigan, has confirmed that it is currently dealing with a ransomware attack. The attack was claimed by the Black Cat/AlphV ransomware gang, who stated that they have stolen 6 TB of data, including personal information and videos of the hospitals’ work.
The healthcare organization detected suspicious activity on its computer network and initiated an investigation. McLaren HealthCare has hired cybersecurity specialists to assist with the investigation and has also been in contact with law enforcement. They are currently working on strengthening their cybersecurity measures to minimize disruption to patients and the communities they serve.
Earlier this month, McLaren experienced outages that affected its billing and electronic health record systems. The situation became so severe that they had to shut down the computer network at 14 different facilities, forcing employees to use personal phones for communication.
The attack on McLaren is part of a disturbing trend of ransomware attacks targeting healthcare institutions. Just a month ago, another major U.S. healthcare network suffered a similar attack, resulting in appointment cancellations and the potential closure of hospitals.
The issue of ransomware attacks on hospitals has gained attention in Congress, with House members holding a hearing to address the crisis. Stephen Leffler, president of a Vermont healthcare provider, shared his experience with a 2020 ransomware attack, emphasizing the need for ongoing efforts to protect healthcare systems against ever-evolving cyber threats.
The state of Michigan’s Emergency Management & Homeland Security department and the governor’s office have not yet responded to requests for comment on whether they are providing expertise to assist McLaren HealthCare in its response to the attack.
It is unclear whether McLaren HealthCare plans to pay a ransom to the hackers, and there is no information on whether their billing and record systems have been restored to full functionality.
The attack by the Black Cat/AlphV gang on McLaren follows their high-profile attack on MGM Resorts, which paralyzed several major casinos in Las Vegas. The gang has a history of targeting healthcare institutions and caused outrage earlier this year when they attempted to extort a healthcare network by publishing sensitive patient photographs.
Overall, the incident highlights the ongoing threat of ransomware attacks to healthcare organizations and the need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive patient data.