New WannaCry Ransomware Variant Attacks FirstHealth

FirstHealth of the Carolinas is a not for profit health network based in Pinehurst, SC that a new Wannacry ransomware variant attacked on October 17, 2017. In May this year, over 230,000 computers around the world got infected by the WannaCry ransomware. It only stopped when a kill switch was identified and activated.

The Wannacry ransomware that attacked FirstHealth is believed to be a new variant. It is not yet known how the virus entered their system and investigation is still ongoing. The FirstHealth information system team discovered the attack immediately and put the security protocols to work to prevent the malware from spreading to networked devices. However, this ransomware really works fast and quickly infected the devices in the networked area.

FirstHealth already informed concerned patients about the ransomware attack and assured them there was no encryption of patient information. Also, the ransomware did not affect the Epic EHR. The Epic system remains inaccessible, however, to keep patient data secure. The MyChart service can still be viewed online, but there are no changes to the data since the Wannacry attack.

While the attack is short-lived, it caused considerable trouble. FirstHealth needs to check about 4,000 devices located in over 100 areas to make sure they are all working right. This will take a lot of time. FirstHealth is currently providing medical services as usual, but patients could expect delays as some appointments have been cancelled and the system is not 100% accessible. But the information team is working double time to restore things. They are applying a new patch to the anti-virus software installed in the devices to fix their vulnerability to the more recent Wannacry ransomware attacks.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA