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Hospitals Advised to Prepare for a Month of Downtime Following Cyberattacks

The Joint Commission, a healthcare accreditation agency, has advised hospitals and health systems to brace for at least a month of downtime following a cyberattack, according to The Wall Street Journal. This recommendation is part of new guidelines released by the agency for handling IT security events. John Riggi, national adviser for cybersecurity and risk at the American Hospital Association, indicated that critical systems usually take three to four weeks to restore, while noncritical ones take even longer. He emphasized the importance of continuing to admit patients during the remediation process.

The advisory comes as Prospect Medical Holdings, a California-based 16-hospital system, is still recovering from a ransomware attack it suffered on August 3. Despite making significant progress and fully restoring some operational systems, the health system is still in the process of bringing others online.

The most common causes of hospital data breaches are phishing and “smishing” attacks. David Baker, executive vice president for healthcare quality evaluation and improvement at the Joint Commission, acknowledged that putting the cybersecurity recommendations into practice will necessitate considerable effort and expenditure. He warned that the repercussions could be disastrous even if only a few staff members fall victim to a phishing attack.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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