US hospitals turn away patients as ransomware strikes

Three US hospitals have been forced to temporarily close their doors to “all but the most critical new patients” following a ransomware outbreak.

“A criminal is limiting our ability to use our computer systems in exchange for an as-yet unknown payment,” said DCH Health System.

DCH operates the three affected hospitals in Alabama.

One cyber-security expert said the groups using ransomware were becoming increasingly well organised.

Computers at the DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Fayette Medical Center and Northport Medical Center were infected with ransomware.

The incident was first reported on 1 October.

“We will continue to divert any new admissions, other than those that are critical, to other facilities,” DCH said in its statement.

Local ambulances have been asked to take patients to other local hospitals instead, where possible.

Outpatients with appointments at any of the three hospitals were advised to call before attending them.

However, elective procedures and surgery already scheduled for 2 October were planned to go ahead.

It is not yet known what group or individual launched the ransomware. Separately, seven hospitals in Australia have also reported disruptive ransomware infections.

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