TRH finds no personal info was stolen

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Hospital suffered cyber attack in May, patient portal to resume Sept. 1

By John Moore

Taylor Regional Hospital has confirmed that “no protected health information” was stolen or improperly accessed as the result of a cyber attack that knocked their systems offline in late May.

In addition, the hospital noted that its patient portal would be re-opening in early September after the hospital has had time to make sure it’s working properly.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this outage has caused,” TRH stated in a press release last week, “and we appreciate the understanding of all our patient portal users.”

Since May, TRH has worked with Mandiant FireEye, a firm recently named “Best Security Company of the Year” by the 2019 Cyber Security Awards, to restore computer systems and ensure patient data was safe following the attack.

Jon Hieneman, general counsel for the hospital, believes the investigation took as long as it did simply because “there are a lot of machines” in their network environment.

He also dispelled the notion that TRH was lacking in the cyber security department.

A TRH release in June noted that it had “experienced a ransomware incident,” but according to Hieneman, there was never a chance for anyone to issue a ransom demand.

The hospital’s threat detection systems kicked in before things could get that far.

“I would appreciate it if you would be sensitive to the fact that we already had excellent security in place,” he said, “but know that does not make anyone, including us, immune. We did not have to engage with what folks in the industry call ‘threat actors’ because we had quality backup and security systems in place.” 

With no ransom issued and well-maintained system backups, the hospital was able to have its major systems inspected and restored within two weeks.

Hieneman noted that the time it has taken to bring the patient portal back online is the result of a thorough investigation ensuring no one’s information was stolen, not a security failure.

However, as well as their security systems worked this time, Hieneman acknowledged there is always room for improvement.

“We are working with our security experts to make changes internally and tighten things down as part of the remedial action we’re taking, based on their recommendations,” he said.

He also pointed out that staff members are already trained on cyber security best practices, but the hospital is looking at new things to teach and different lessons they should emphasize in order to keep employees up-to-date in the ever-changing world of cyber security.

On Sept. 1, patients who use the web portal at https://mychart.trhosp.org to access records will need to contact the TRH Medical Records Department at 270-789-5806 to obtain a new login code.