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Action1 5 Blog 5 Illinois Hospital Closure: A Stark Reminder of Ransomware’s Existential Threat

Illinois Hospital Closure: A Stark Reminder of Ransomware’s Existential Threat

August 25, 2023

By Mike Walters

Illinois Hospital Building
The cyber risk landscape continues to evolve, with ransomware attacks causing far-reaching consequences. One such consequence was seen in the recent closure of St. Margaret’s Health in Illinois, a story poignantly covered in this Dark Reading report.

The hospital, impacted by a ransomware attack in 2021, is an alarming example of the existential threats faced by small and rural healthcare facilities when targeted by cyber extortionists. This incident stresses the urgency of proactive cyber risk management.

Joshua Corman, former CISA chief strategist and current vice president of cyber safety strategy at Claroty, advocates for these systems to seek assistance from state and federal authorities, to engage regional CISA, HHS resources, and the FBI, minimizing cyber risks. One of his key recommendations is prioritizing patching of vulnerabilities listed in the CISA’s Known Exploited Vulnerability Catalog (KEV).

The Importance of Patching

The story of St. Margaret’s Health underscores the criticality of timely and effective patching. A consistent patching routine is a proactive defense measure against cyber threats, essentially sealing off potential entry points that could be exploited by ransomware actors.

However, patching should not be a random exercise. Instead, it should be prioritized based on the severity and exploitability of vulnerabilities. For instance, if a vulnerability appears on CISA’s KEV list, it must be remediated before others.

Leverage Modern Cybersecurity Tools

Modern cybersecurity tools can significantly enhance your organization’s defensive capabilities. CISA offers a wealth of free tools like the Cyber Hygiene Scanning (CyHy) and Cyber Essentials that are instrumental in detecting vulnerabilities and strengthening defenses.

Additionally, solutions like Action1’s patch management solution can significantly simplify patching and prioritization. By automating these processes, Action1 ensures that no critical vulnerability goes unpatched.

In Closing

The closure of St. Margaret’s Health is a somber reminder of the existential threats that ransomware poses to organizations, especially those in the healthcare sector. Prioritizing patching and taking advantage of modern cybersecurity tools are essential steps towards mitigating these risks. Remember, in the face of cyber threats, proactive defense is our best offense.

Do you think ransomware may pose an existential threat to your organization? Let’s discuss this in Action1 subreddit or Action1 Discord.

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