Hackers demand ransom from Carthage & Claxton-Hepburn hospitals

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:13 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Criminals are demanding money from Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and Carthage Area Hospital after the hospitals’ systems were hacked on August 31.

“We’ve been notified by the threat actors or the people that committed this crime, this is a ransomware attack, and they are demanding a ransom,” said Rich Duvall, who is CEO of both hospitals.

He tells 7 News it was discovered a few days after the initial attack that this became a situation involving a ransom. Just recently, hospital officials learned that the hackers do have some patient and employee data.

Now the group is demanding money by September 19 in order to not release or sell that data.

Duvall says it isn’t known exactly what data the hackers have because some of the stolen information is encrypted. He says the hospitals are not paying the ransom.

“The idea of paying the ransomware or negotiating with the criminal does not sit well with us, and there are no guarantees that they will honor their end of the deal,” he said.

Claxton-Hepburn and Carthage are working with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and New York State Department of Health.

Duvall says the hospitals remain in control of their own computer systems and have recovered most of the data that was initially lost.

Duvall feels not only are the hospitals getting attacked by cyber-criminals, but the people who use the facilities are as well as employees.

“The hospitals are here to provide care for the second afflicted in some of their worst times of their lives, and unfortunately anyone who attacks a hospital is attacking those people in our community,” he said.

Both hospitals are open, including the emergency departments, and have set up parallel data systems.

Duvall says if a patient is affected by the hack, the hospitals will reach out to them and steps will be taken to help ensure the patient’s information is monitored.