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Massive ransomware attack snags hospital electronic record operations

Summary

Nuance Communications, a dictation and transcription service for physicians, still restoring cloud-based services

Newswire: July 7, 2017.

Dateline: Burlington, Mass.

The global malware attack of June 27, known as Petya, is still rippling through Nuance Communications’ suite of dictation and transcription services that serve a vast majority of U.S. hospitals.

Nuance’s cloud-based services were still down as of Thursday, the company acknowledged, forcing it to offer alternative dictation services to customers affected by the outage. More than 500,000 clinicians and 10,000 healthcare facilities, in 65 countries, use Nuance to create electronic medical records.

Petya, first discovered in 2016, is an encrypting form of ransomware that locks up a computer’s information and demands payment to free it. It was part of a major global cyberattack on June 27 that originated in Ukraine before spreading to central and western Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Nuance Communications is based in Burlington, Mass.

Company officials have said they have enlisted cybersecurity forensics experts, and they are “working around the clock to restore our systems, add further security controls, and ensure our customers can resume functionality with their systems.”

Nuance emphasized that “there is no evidence to suggest that any customer information has been removed from the network.”

Healthcare Informatics reported that Heritage Valley Health System of Pennsylvania had seen operational disruptions in its diagnostic imaging services and and lab services at community-level branches. Those services have been restored, the hospital said. There was no evidence indicating the hospital had been specifically targeted as Petya spread.

Norm Mitry, the chief executive of Heritage Valley Health System, credited regular disaster drills with helping the hospital network stay operational through the network outage.

Read the full story here.

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