Ransomware Attack on Finger Lakes Health Disables Computers

March 23, 2018


Geneva, NY-based Finger Lakes Health has suffered a ransomware attack that has disabled its computer system. Staff has been compelled to work on pen and paper while the health system tries to get rid of the malware and reestablish access to electronic data.

The ransomware attack on the health system began at about midnight on Sunday, March 18, 2018, with staff becoming conscious of the attack when a ransom demand was released by the attackers.

Finger Lakes Health manages Geneva General Hospital and Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital in Pen Yan and numerous specialty care practices, basic care physician practices, long-term health services, and daycare facilities in upstate New York. It is unclear precisely how many services have been affected by the ransomware attack.

Finger Lakes Health has established disaster procedures for attack situations like this, which were instantly applied when the attack was found. On March 20, the health system released a statement to local mass media channels concerning the attack describing that although a few of its information systems were inaccessible, its manual downtime procedure had been applied and its hospices and care services continued to work. Such an attack will obviously have an effect on the delivery of medical facilities, even though patient care remains the top priority while the ransomware attack is alleviated.

Finger Lakes Health is working closely with police and IT teams to reestablish access to data and get its systems back online. At this phase, it seems that the attackers have just encrypted data. There is no sign that any patient or worker information has been undermined.

No information on the kind of ransomware used in the attack has been issued and it is not clear precisely how much was demanded by the attackers to provide the keys to unlock the encryption, even though Lara Turbide, Finger Lakes Health’s vice president of community facilities, has verified that the ransom was paid. “We made this decision in the interest of patients and resident care to reduce patient trouble and to move past this occurrence as swiftly as possible,” said Turbide.