Data Breach News

Cyberattack Hit NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, Systems Down

Efforts to gather information from official sources were also hampered as The Cyber Express (TCE) Team encountered difficulties accessing NorthBay Health's website.

by Samiksha Jain April 3, 2024 in Data Breach News, Firewall Daily Reading Time: 3 mins read 0

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is grappling with systemwide disruptions following what has been described as a , leaving patients in limbo.

One of the Patients, Linda Sperow recounted her frustrating experience when attempting to access services at the hospital. “There was a problem yesterday I couldn't get through and [a worker] goes ‘Yes, ma'am. We've had a cyberattack,'” she revealed to CBS News.

Patient Ordeal: Struggles to Access Services

Sperow's ordeal began on April 1 when she sought information about the walk-in x-ray clinic. However, her attempts to reach the hospital via their website and phone lines were met with frustration. “Website is not working. I tried phoning [and] couldn't get a phone number, then sat on the line 45 minutes. I didn't give up,” she lamented.

Despite her persistence, Sperow was ultimately turned away when she showed up for her x-ray appointment on Tuesday morning. The hospital's system outage rendered them unable to check her in or access her medical records, highlighting the severity of the situation.

Reflecting on the broader implications of such incidents, Sperow noted, “Any conglomerate is susceptible to this. We hear about it all the time and there's times when we don't hear about it.”

Efforts to gather information from official sources were also hampered as The Cyber Express (TCE) Team encountered difficulties accessing NorthBay Health's website. Despite reaching out to officials for clarification, no response was forthcoming at the time of reporting.

Proactive Response from NorthBay VacaValley Hospital

However, in response to inquiries, NorthBay VacaValley Hospital issued a statement to CBS13, acknowledging the cyber incident and affirming their proactive approach to addressing it.

“Upon detecting this incident, we launched an investigation and engaged leading external cybersecurity experts to support our response. We are working diligently to restore systems as quickly and safely as possible,” the statement read.

Paule Keener, a cyber expert with Guidepoint Security, shed light on the multifaceted motivations behind cyber attacks. “It's not just about the money. It's all about the money. Sometimes it's stealing the data. Sometimes it's putting the organization in an untenable situation so nobody can access information or receive services and it puts a lot of pressure on the organization,” Keener explained.

Keener emphasized the vulnerability of all organizations to cyber breaches, with hospitals being particularly attractive targets due to the wealth of sensitive data they harbor. “They're looking to find information — so a patient's date of birth, social security number, credit card number, where they live, any medical information that would give them the ability to create an account or take over an account and get money,” he cautioned.

As concerns about data security continue to loom large, Keener advised vigilance against phishing scams for individuals whose data may have been compromised in such incidents.

The disruption caused by the cyber incident at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital serves as a reminder of the pervasive threat posed by cyberattacks and the critical need for enhanced cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive information and ensure uninterrupted delivery of essential services.

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