Singing River Health Strangled by Network Ransomware Encryptions

  • By Steven
  • Jan 16, 2024

Singing River Health System Attack

Singing River Health System (SRHS) is a healthcare network located in the tail of Mississippi (and northern Alabama). They provide a comprehensive network of medical services for residents, including cancer, emergency, hospice, pediatrics, and urgent care. SRHS’ emergency departments at Gulfport Hospital, Ocean Springs Hospital, and Pascagoula Hospital serve over 100,000 patients yearly. In August 2023, SRHS officials faced a cyberattack—malicious ransomware encrypted their systems—exposing the data of 252,890 patients. 

How Did the Attack Occur? 

An unauthorized actor accessed SRHS’ network system and released ransomware encryptions into the environment; officials became aware of the event after discovering one instance of inaccessible files and launching a subsequent review. Preliminary investigations indicate that several systems were made inaccessible by the ransomware. However, the published Data Breach Notice does not suggest how the assailant made the attack possible. Most likely, the threat actor seized access following a successful code injection, although the actor may have garnered access in other ways, like sophisticated phishing. During the attack, the unauthorized actor could steal specific data from those compromised systems. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen? 

The consumer notice sample published by the Maine Attorney General’s office suggests some patient information was compromised. The exposed data elements differ between patients and situations, but all victims have a high risk of future data misuse. Compromised data from this event includes victims’ names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, medical information, health information, and birthdays. Consequently, victims may be at risk for identity and medical fraud; however, they can protect themselves by safeguarding their information and taking proactive steps to mitigate possible damage. 

How Did the Singing River Health System Admit to the Breach? 

The timeline published in the consumer notice suggests the threat actor gained access to SRHS’ network around August 16th, 2023; they remained in the environment until the 18th. On or around August 19th, officials discovered the attack and investigated the event internally. On or around September 13th, the preliminary investigation confirmed the attack, and officials launched a response. A month later, around October 18th, officials sent first-wave notices of the event, with secondary notices sent on January 12th, 2024. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information? 

Although the threat actor breached SRHS’ network, victims are still partially responsible for what happens to their data. The cybercriminal that stole the data has many opportunities for profiteering from the event, but victims can limit their options. For example, victims cannot stop the threat from selling their data on the dark web; however, they can (and should) take steps to stop other criminals from misusing their data. 

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach? 

The most straightforward way of limiting the consequences of a data breach is by turning to professionals and cybersecurity. Professional services like medical ID monitoring options notify individuals when suspicious activity occurs within an account; this allows victims more time to respond to a threat before a criminal can cause untold damages. Simultaneously, enabling cybersecurity protocols for all accounts can stop criminals before they can access an account. Multi-factor authentications almost guarantee that a criminal can’t access sensitive accounts. Meanwhile, complex passwords can stop a criminal scheme before it starts (especially with a password manager). Victims of this event have data at risk for misuse—but if they act proactively, they can mitigate most threats.

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