Ohio ophthalmology practice hit by ransomware attack

The computer systems for Youngstown, Ohio-based Eye Care Associates remain locked following a July 28 ransomware attack, local newspaper The Business Journal reports.

The hackers did not steal any patient data or other sensitive information, Mary Jo Sierra, BSN, director of operators for Eye Care Associates, told the outlet. Operations at the practice, the largest ophthalmology and optometry provider in the area, are expected to be fully restored this week, she said.

An incident report filed Aug. 12 with the Beaver Township Police Department reportedly described how, at 4 a.m. on July 28, "unknown computer hacking software had taken control of the entire Eye Care Associates computer system and locked them out until [an] unknown ransom was paid."

Per the report, Ms. Sierra reported the incident to the practice's board of directors, who decided not to engage with the hackers. They decided instead to build an entirely new system using backup copies of the compromised data; during that weeks-long process, the practice has been unable to make new patient appointments, while those appointments that have occurred have reportedly relied on paper records.

Ms. Sierra and Eye Care Associates declined to disclose to The Business Journal the costs of losing weeks' worth of business and rebuilding the entire IT system.

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