Lurie Children’s Hospital Halted by Cyber Attack: Healthcare Institutions at Risk

February 4, 2024
1 min read

TLDR: Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago experienced a significant disruption to its phones, internet, and patient portal as a result of a cybersecurity attack. The attack affected medical equipment as well, causing disruptions to patient care. Healthcare institutions like Lurie Children’s Hospital are often targeted by cybercriminals due to the valuable private data they hold. The rise in cyber threats against health systems has led to data breaches in the health sector reaching an all-time high last year. Lurie Children’s Hospital has taken its network offline and is working with law enforcement to investigate the attack. This incident highlights the urgent need for robust security measures and rapid response strategies to protect against and mitigate the impact of cyber attacks.

Overview of the Attack

Lurie Children’s Hospital experienced a network outage on January 31 due to a cybersecurity attack. The attack disrupted phones, email, internet service, and medical equipment, causing disruptions to patient care.

The Reason Behind Increased Attacks on Healthcare Institutions

Healthcare institutions are often targeted by cybercriminals due to the valuable private data they hold. The number of attacks on Illinois healthcare computers has more than doubled in the past year, leading to data breaches impacting millions of patients.

Actions Taken in Response to the Attack

Lurie Children’s Hospital took its network offline and is working with law enforcement, including the FBI, on the investigation. The hospital has also established a call center to address non-urgent patient needs while it works to restore its systems.

The Widespread Threat of Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are not limited to just hospitals. FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that state-sponsored Chinese hackers are targeting U.S. infrastructure, including the power grid. This raises concerns about national security and the need for robust measures to prevent and respond to such incidents.

Conclusion

This incident serves as a reminder of the pressing concern of cybersecurity breaches in healthcare and other critical sectors. It highlights the need for robust security measures and rapid response strategies to protect against and mitigate the impact of cyber attacks. Healthcare institutions and other organizations holding sensitive data must stay ahead of potential threats and ensure the safety and security of their systems and data.

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