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Memorial Health System progresses after attack

Hoping to function as normal by next week

Photo by Amy Phelps Memorial Health System President and CEO Scott Cantley holds a press conference Wednesday morning about the recent cyber attack.

MARIETTA — The Memorial Health System is restoring systems after Sunday’s ransomware cyber attack, officials said on Wednesday.

“The process of healing begins today,” said Memorial Health System President and CEO Scott Cantley.

“In the last 24 hours, we have made progress,” he said. “We have completed an agreement and received the keys to unlock our servers and begin to process recovery.”

Cantley said negotiations were made with the help of the FBI and their insurance carrier. As to who attacked them, “the FBI has their suspicions of an Eastern European entity that is relatively new and sophisticated.”

The next 72 hours were to be used to start restoring systems to operate as normal, he said.

“We are following a deliberate, methodical approach to bring our systems back online securely and in a manner that prioritizes our ability to provide patient care,” Cantley said.

Memorial Health System is estimating they could be back up to usual practices by Monday.

“It’s good news for our staff to get our tools back,” Cantley said. “We have 800 servers and more than 3,000 personal devices that our physicians use to serve patients.”

Unlocking all of those personal devices will take several weeks, he said.

While the hospital routinely drills to deal with outages, one to this extent is unusual, Cantley said.

“We have had outages before,” he said. “We had a fiber line cut and couldn’t transmit information via the internet, but this is unusual became it is so pervasive — it is our internal systems.”

Serving patients remains Memorial Health System’s No. 1 priority. The hospital continues to sort urgent and emergent procedures from others, scaling back non-essential services until all of its tools are back, Cantley said.

“We will keep services to essential and next week we should be back to typical services,” he said, adding, “We continue to serve our patients with great care in the face of adversity.”

Cantley reiterated at this point there has been no indication of a breach of patient or financial records.

“It is more about operations of the health care system, to get them to pay to unlock,” he said.

Such events have been happening to many health systems across the United States and regionally, he said.

Moving forward, Memorial Health System will continue to focus on remediation technology that will be added to its already intensive security systems, Cantley said.

“It is unfortunate that many health care organizations are confronting the impacts of an evolving cyber threat landscape,” Cantley said. “We continue to implement enhancements to our information security, systems and monitoring capabilities.”

Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.

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