Over the weekend, the Andre-Mignot Hospital in Versailles, near Paris, had to cancel operations and transfer patients after being hit by a cyber attack, France’s health ministry said on Sunday.
By Saturday evening, six patients had been transferred – three belonged to intensive care while the other three were from the neonatal unit – said the minister, Francois Braun, after visiting the hospital. He added that more might follow.
The hospital experienced a complete “reorganization” due to the cyber attack, according to Braun. The regional health agency (ARS) said the hospital had canceled operations but was doing its best to keep walk-in services and consultations running.
Extra staff was also called into the intensive care. Although the machines were still functioning, more people were needed to watch the screens since they were no longer working as part of a network.
The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation into attempted extortion, as well as the access and maintenance of the state digital system after the hospital filed a formal complaint on Sunday.
This cyber attack is not a standalone event since many hospitals and health systems in France have been targeted by threat actors for several months now. Braun stated that “the health system suffers daily attacks” in France but the “vast majority of these attempts are prevented”.
In August, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital on the outskirts of Paris – which provides healthcare for nearly 700,000 residents – was targeted.
Its operations were severely disrupted for several weeks before returning to normal in mid-October. On that occasion, the cyber attack was followed by a demand for $10 million, subsequently lowered to one or two million.
The hackers had set a September 23 deadline for the hospital to pay the ransom, after which they posted confidential data on patients and staff to the “dark web.”
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