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Scripps Ransomware Attack Nears Fourth Week, Some Systems Still Down
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Photo by Nicholas McVicker
It has been nearly four weeks since a crippling ransomware attack hit one of San Diego's largest health care providers and it is still unclear when systems could be fully restored. While Scripps Health hospitals and urgent care centers are open and accepting patients, some services are still down.
Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder said in a letter to patients on Monday that patients medical history can once again be accessed electronically and by the end of week patients might be able to go online and view their health care information.
"Rest assured we have thorough backups and are using them to help our restoration efforts," Van Gorder said. "Even so, there is no 'easy button.'"
Van Gorder also referred to the cyber attack as "ransomware," where hackers could be holding information in exchange for a payment. Before Monday Scripps Health officials would not call the attack ransomware, even though the state health department has been calling it that since May 10.
"We know the last few weeks have been difficult for our community members, and at times it may have seemed like we weren’t communicating enough," Van Gorder said in the letter to patients. He added that sharing information has put the health care giant at increased risk for more attacks.
"This is not hypothetical," he said. "Other attackers are already using what is being reported in the media to send scam communications to our organization."
The last few weeks have not been easy for patients with some appointments, bloodwork and other procedures being rescheduled or outsourced. Patients can check to see if existing appointments are still on by calling (800) 727-4777.
"We are in the process of reaching out to patients to reschedule surgeries, infusions, imaging, lab and all other patient care services that were previously postponed due to the network outage," a message posted on the Scripps website said.
Van Gorder said that teams are still working around the clock to fully restore systems and said Scripps is assisting with a federal law enforcement investigation.
A message in response to questions about if personal data has been compromised said the investigation is still ongoing and, depending on the outcome, Scripps will, "Be sure to provide notifications to affected individuals in accordance with all applicable laws."
Van Gorder said the health care system will continue to provide updates.
"While this progress is meaningful, there is work left to be done," he said Monday. "We look forward to building on these efforts and restoring the remaining Scripps systems as soon as possible."
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