Image: JC Gellidon via Unsplash/Photomosh

Cyberattack causing treatment delays at Canadian hospital

A cyberattack on a hospital in Ontario, Canada, is causing delays to scheduled and non-urgent care.

Cornwall Community Hospital — a healthcare facility serving the residents of Cornwall and several other counties — said it discovered a “network issue” on Tuesday that was later revealed to be a cyberattack.

The hospital did not respond to requests for comment about whether it was a ransomware attack, but on Thursday officials said it hired cybersecurity experts to respond to the issue.

“At this time, we can confirm that our clinical Electronic Health Record has not been impacted. Delivering exceptional patient-centered care is the hospital’s top priority and CCH continues to provide high-quality clinical services,” the hospital said in a statement.

“However, residents may experience some delays to scheduled or non-urgent care.”

The hospital released a similar message on Tuesday saying there would be delays in treatment as they deal with the incident.

The organization urged patients to follow its social media channels for more updates on when services may return to normal. The hospital has 175 beds and a staff of 1,200 employees, including 180 physicians

The attack follows a week of cyber incidents targeting Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Tuesday.

The website for the prime minister’s office was hit with several distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that brought it down for several hours. Similar DDoS incidents targeted the websites for Quebec's state-owned electricity provider Hydro-Québec and ports in Halifax, Montreal and Quebec.

"It's not uncommon for Russian hackers to target countries as they are showing their steadfast support for Ukraine ... so the timing isn't surprising," Trudeau said during a joint news conference with Shmyhal.

"But in case anyone was wondering, Russia being able to bring down an official government of Canada web page for a few hours is in no way going to dissuade us from our unshakable support of Ukraine."

Hackers and ransomware groups continue to relentlessly target hospitals in 2023, with dozens of healthcare facilities facing downtime due to cyber incidents over the last three months.

Culbertson Memorial Hospital in Illinois managed to fully restore its systems on Tuesday after nearly two weeks of disruption caused by a cyberattack. Dozens of attacks on healthcare institutions have been reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights in the last two months.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.