Hackensack Meridian paid ransom for cyberattack that shut down computer network

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Hackensack (N.J.) Meridian Health on Dec. 13 said it paid an undisclosed amount in ransom to stop a cyberattack that had caused a two-day shutdown of its computer network last week, according to Asbury Park Press.

The ransomware attack forced the health system to turn to paper records as well as reschedule a limited number of nonemergency procedures from Dec. 4-6. Upon discovering the cybersecurity incident, Hackensack Meridian Health notified the FBI, law enforcement and regulatory authorities to investigate.

The health system initially referred to the cause of the network downtime only as an "externally driven incident," until confirming on Dec. 13 that that network issues were a result of ransomware. Hackensack Meridian Health said it could not previously reveal the nature of the ransomware attack due to "developments in the investigation and on advice of national experts," according to the publication.

While Hackensack Meridian Health's primary clinical system is back up and running, the health system is still working to bring other parts of the computer system back online.

The organization said it has insurance to help cover costs associated with cyberattacks, including payment and recovery efforts. However, the incident "makes it clear that even the best preparation may not prevent a successful attack," the health system said in its statement, according to the report.

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