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A cyberattack has been launched on hospitals in Brooklyn that serve low-income New Yorkers

New YorkA cyberattack has been launched on hospitals in Brooklyn that serve low-income New Yorkers

A hospital organisation in Brooklyn that serves patients in some of the poorest communities in New York has been fighting the ramifications of a cyberattack that caused some essential services to go down. The hospital group treats patients in some of the city’s poorest districts.

Officials have acknowledged that the incident occurred in late November and that it targeted the organisation known as One Brooklyn Health. Now, even as cybersecurity experts work to get its three hospitals fully back online, doctors and nurses are forced to rely on methods that most hospitals abandoned in the 1990s: pen-and-paper patient care. This is despite the fact that cybersecurity experts are working to get its three hospitals fully back online.

The chief executive officer of One Brooklyn Health, which includes Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, LaRay Brown, stated that the hospitals were working with security experts to remediate the problems, which at one point shut down all-important hospital work stations through which health care providers access medical records, order prescriptions, and fill in patient charts. Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center are all affiliated with One Brooklyn Health.

It has not been made clear if this was a ransomware assault, in which the hackers demand money in exchange for releasing the data. The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not want to comment on the matter, citing its policy of maintaining strict confidentiality on active investigations. The requests for comments from the other public safety agencies were not immediately met with a response. The New York State Department of Health has said that it is collaborating with the institutions to improve patient safety but has refused to comment more on the matter.

The hack was brought to the attention of The City earlier.

According to Scheena Iyande Tannis, who has worked as a critical care nurse at Brookdale for the past 17 years, the hospital’s electronic medical system has been down for several weeks. As a result, she has been forced to resort to techniques that she first learned in the days when the medical facility did not use electronic medical records.

“My day-to-day has altered a little bit, simply re-familiarizing oneself with the documentation that is required,” Ms. Tannis said. “However, the real treatment of the patient stays the same, because patients appear, disease processes exist, just as they always have.”

An employee of the hospital who works in inpatient psychiatry at Interfaith stated in an interview that the hack forced his unit to devise new workarounds. One of these workarounds is that hard-copy patient records now need to be transported by hand to the unit. He said that the capacity to deliver care had not altered, although he did highlight that the turnaround time for laboratory findings had increased. The employee at the hospital asked to remain anonymous since he was not permitted to discuss the security breach publicly.

Another member of the staff at Brookdale said that diagnostic imaging could not be performed within and so had to be sent outside for processing.

During the spring and summer of 2020, the hospitals operated by One Brooklyn Health took in around 2,500 individuals who were diagnosed with Covid-19. According to the data, 831 of them, or one third, passed away.

According to the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a nonprofit organisation whose mission is to improve the United States’ cybersecurity posture, ransomware hackers have targeted more than 3,600 local, tribal, and state governments across the country since 2017. These governments include state and local governments as well as tribal governments.

One Brooklyn Health is one of a number of prestigious institutions in the area that is now fending against cyberattacks. Because to a malicious ransomware assault, the Suffolk County government was mostly unable to function online for many weeks during the autumn of 2017. And on Friday, the Metropolitan Opera revealed its intentions to circumvent the hack that rendered its website and box office inoperable. As part of these measures, the opera would offer tickets to certain events for a price of $50 via a website that is managed by Lincoln Center.

The healthcare industry is becoming an increasingly popular target for cybercriminals. In the autumn of 2020, a wave of cyberattacks affected around a dozen hospitals, causing services to be interrupted. In one hospital in Vermont, nurses were required to refuse chemotherapy treatment to patients. The chief executive officer of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, Ramón Rodriguez, recalled in an interview that a ransomware attack in October 2020 forced the hospital staff to rely on pen, paper, and a lot of elevator rides to transmit information. Wyckoff Heights Medical Center is located in the borough of Brooklyn.

Data theft and ransomware assaults have only escalated in the months after the start of the epidemic, according to John Riggi, the national advisor for cybersecurity and risk at the American Hospital Association.

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