Lurie Children’s Hospital Cyberattack Cripples Healthcare Systems

Written by Gabby Lee

February 6, 2024

Lurie Children's Hospital Cyberattack Cripples Healthcare Systems

Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago recently encountered a cyberattack that lead to a temporary shutdown of its IT systems. Consequently, regular operations were disrupted, and in certain cases, medical care was delayed.

Lurie Children’s Hospital Cyberattack Details

Lurie Children’s Hospital is a prominent pediatric acute care facility situated in Chicago, boasting 360 beds and a comprehensive medical team of 1,665 physicians covering 70 sub-specialties, along with 4,000 dedicated medical staff and employees.

Recognized as one of the nation’s leading pediatric hospitals, it provides essential healthcare services to more than 200,000 children annually.

The Chicago children’s hospital formally declared on its website and social media channels that it is actively addressing a cybersecurity incident, leading to the precautionary measure of temporarily taking offline network systems to prevent further spread of the attack.

“Lurie Children’s is actively responding to a cybersecurity matter,” disclosed Lurie Children’s Hospital yesterday.

“We are taking this very seriously, are investigating with the support of leading experts, and are working in collaboration with law enforcement agencies. As part of our response to this matter, we have taken network systems offline.”

Disclosed Lurie Children’s Hospital yesterday.

Lurie Children’s Cyber Attack Caused Significant Disruptions

As a result of the Lurie Children’s outage the Hospital experienced significant disruptions to its internet, email, phone services, and access to the MyChat platform. In light of this situation, individuals facing a healthcare emergency were urged to dial 911 or seek immediate assistance at their nearest emergency department.

“As Illinois’ leading provider for pediatric care, our overarching priority is to continue providing safe, quality care to our patients and the communities we serve,” continues the hospital’s announcement.

“Lurie Children’s is open and providing care to patients with as few disruptions as possible.”

According to local media sources, the Lurie Children’s Hospital cyberattack has resulted in the postponement of scheduled procedures. Additionally, the unavailability of ultrasound and CT scan results has posed challenges, and prescriptions are now being provided in paper format.

In response to the situation, the hospital has adopted a first-come, first-served approach, with a focus on prioritizing emergency cases. It is worth noting that, as of now, no prominent ransomware groups have claimed responsibility for the Lurie Children’s cyber attack.

Despite the guidelines purportedly established by ransomware operators, instructing their affiliates to spare hospitals from attacks, there are still instances where various ransomware gangs disregard these policies and continue to target healthcare organizations.

It appears that these guidelines may either lack enforcement or serve as a mere facade to conceal their relentless pursuit of financial gain. Two recent examples of such incidents involve the Capital Health hospital network and Saint Anthony Hospital in the United States, as well as the Katholische Hospitalvereinigung Ostwestfalen (KHO) hospitals in Germany.

These attacks were carried out by the Lockbit ransomware operation, which claims to adhere to strict policies forbidding cyberattacks on hospitals.

Lurie Children’s Hospital Cyberattack Update: 06th January, 2024

The network outage at Lurie Children’s Hospital has entered its sixth day as a precautionary measure against an undisclosed cyberattack. In order to safeguard against further potential risks, the hospital has taken the decision to disconnect its computers, internet, and phone systems.

“We are taking this very seriously and have launched an investigation with the support of leading experts and are working in collaboration with law enforcement agencies. As part of our response to this matter, we have proactively taken network systems offline,”

Hospital administrators said in a statement.

“We recognize the concern and inconvenience the systems outage may cause our patient families and community providers, and are working diligently to resolve this matter as quickly and effectively as possible.

Reported abc7chicago

A call center has been established to address needs including non-urgent patient requests, care questions, information regarding scheduled patient appointments, and patient prescription refill requests.

For assistance regarding the ongoing cybersecurity matter, please contact the Lurie Children’s call center at 1-800-543-7362. The call center operates from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.

“At first, we had some patients having trouble communicating with their specialists but we were able to back-channel that in a couple of ways,”

Dr. Andy Bernstein, a pediatrician at North Suburban Pediatrics in Evanston.

According to Bernstein, the ongoing Lurie Children’s outage has not affected emergency services at Lurie Children’s Hospital. The hospital is actively informing families about the outage through notices on its website and social media channels.

In addition to the call center, Bernstein has personally addressed inquiries from his patients. However, providers are currently unable to access all patient records as many of them are only available digitally. Despite this challenge, Lurie has established multiple communication channels between doctors within its network of hundreds of pediatricians even before the outage occurred.

“Lurie has made sure they’re in good contact with their referring general pediatricians,”

The cyberattack at Lurie Children’s Hospital is currently being investigated, and the FBI is involved in providing assistance. Unfortunately, the exact timeline for when the network will be restored and back online is still unknown.

The hospital is working diligently to resolve the issue and ensure the safety and security of its systems. Updates will be provided as soon as more information becomes available.

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