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Rawlins Hospital Hit With Ransomware Attack Over Weekend

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A hospital in Rawlins on Sunday became the latest Wyoming institution to be hit with a ransomware attack, officials announced.

However, a spokeswoman for Memorial Hospital of Carbon County said problems created by the attack should be resolved by Wednesday.

Hospital spokeswoman Stephanie Hinkle did not specify which of the hospital’s systems were targeted in the attack, but added that Medhost and Athena, the hospital’s two electronic health record systems, were not compromised.

Hinkle did not respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear how the ransomware attack occurred or who conducted it.

Manual back-up processes have been implemented at the facility to ensure patient care is not impacted. The hospital’s IT department and external IT vendors were working to resolve the issue and ensure all systems were reactivated quickly.

Hospital officials estimated the problems caused by the attack would be resolved within 72 hours.

Cyber Wyoming co-founder Pat Wolfinbarger told Cowboy State Daily that the hospital’s IT department should be commended for its quick and efficient work.

“Being back up and running in 72 hours and not having patient health information affected makes for a pretty good recovery,” he said. “In President [Joe] Biden’s recent warning about the possibility of a Russian cyberattack on critical infrastructure, which includes hospitals, he said it was our ‘patriotic duty’ to invest as much as we can to improve technological defenses. But even with tons of technological investment, we have to remember that our organizations are only as strong as each person in the organization.

“For every company, the challenge is constant vigilance when it comes to cyberattacks and ransomware attacks,” Wolfinbarger continued. “But even with that vigilance, companies can’t eliminate their risks, but they can reduce the impact if something happens.” 

Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington last June was hit with a cyberattack on the school’s administrative network, disabling its computer, phone and email systems for more than 24 hours.

The University of Wyoming last year also saw a cyberattack during virtual Black History Month event when people began sending racist and pornographic messages to disrupt it.

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Ransomware attack still affecting Campbell County Health

in News/Health care
Ransomware attack

By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

A ransomware virus attack on Campbell County Health continued to plague its computer network, causing disruptions in service to Campbell County Hospital and connected systems on Monday. 

According to Kelly Ruiz, public information officer with the Department of Homeland Security in Cheyenne, two other institutions, both connected to Campbell County Health, were also affected by the attack. 

One was the Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center in Gillette, a long-term care and short-term rehabilitation facility, Ruiz said. The other, according to Dane Joslyn, CCH public information officer, was Wright Clinic and Occupational Health, part of the Campbell County Medical Group.

Ruiz advised the public to follow common computer safeguards to defend against such virus attacks.

“There are some basic things that everyone whether it’s private industry or individuals can do … use strong passwords, don’t click on links, don’t open unknown email attachments,” she said. “Also use cyber security software, a good antivirus.”

It is unknown how the ransomware was transmitted to the CCH network. 

“It is still under investigation.” said Ruiz. “We are currently coordinating but we don’t yet know.”

Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, officials are not disclosing the nature of the ransom being demanded by the virus’ attacker. Most ransomware attacks direct the infected user to send an electronic payment through a given link before the system will be released. 

During a press conference at CCH Monday afternoon, hospital officials, affected department heads and investigators fielded questions about the attack and the investigation. 

“Our goal here is to bring in people that can help identify and go after the perpetrators,” said Leland Christensen, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security.

Ian Swift, chair of the CCH board of directors, said work continues at the CCH despite the disruption.

“There is a sense of calm in CCH right now,” he said.

There is no estimate as to when the situation might be resolved, said Matt Sabus, information technologies director for CCH.

According to the CCH website, the county’s Emergency Medical Services, CCMH Emergency Department, Maternal Child (OB) and the CCMG Walk-in Clinic are open to assess patients and treat or transfer patients to area hospitals as appropriate.

Ransomware attack shuts down computer network at Campbell County Health

in News/Technology/Health care
Randomware virus

By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Gillette — A “ransomware” virus shut down the Campbell County Health computer system on Friday, forcing the Campbell County Memorial Hospital to direct incoming emergency patients to other facilities, according to the health system’s website.

According to the CCH website, “All CCH computer systems have been affected, which impacts the organization’s ability to provide patient care.”

“We have processes in place to continue to treat inpatients appropriately and safely,” Colleen Heeter, Chief Operating Officer, said in the statement. “We will continue to update this information as it becomes available.” 

CCH first became aware of the ransomware attack about 3 a.m. Friday morning. As of Friday night, there was no information as to when computer systems would be restored. 

Services disrupted at at CCH include:

  • No outpatient lab, respiratory therapy and radiology exams or procedures;
  • No new inpatient admissions;
  • Some surgery cancellations;
  • Patients coming to the emergency department and walk-in clinic will be triaged and transferred to an appropriate care facility if needed.

Patients are urged that before coming to appointments, to contact their clinic or department to see if they still scheduled. Phone systems remain operational.

According to Dame Joslyn, CCH Public Information Spokesperson, current patients are being treated as normal, but new patients are being diverted to hospitals in Casper, Sheridan and Rapid City, South Dakota. 

“We have transferred six patients since 11:30 Friday morning.” “We (CCH) have enlisted numerous local, state and federal officials,” added Joslyn.

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