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TMH systems offline due to cyber threat

TMH reschedules patient's procedures due to cyber threat
Posted at 6:34 PM, Feb 03, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As of Friday, Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's IT system was offline due to what the hospital is calling an IT security issue that happened late Thursday night.

"The first response should be to unplug that machine. I know that sounds old school but that's what you have to do. You've got to minimize the threat," said Blake Dowling, CEO of Aegis Business Technologies.

Dowling knows the impacts cyber-attacks can have on companies.

While the hospital says the system was taken down as a precaution, it's a move that's forced TMH to reschedule non-emergency procedures scheduled for Friday through Monday.

In a statement TMH says, "Caring for our patients is our top priority, and we have protocols in place to care for patients in the event of an IT downtime such as this. We are safely caring for all patients currently in our hospital, and we are not moving patients to other facilities."

With TMH only accepting trauma cases in the area, some patients are being routed to HCA.

The communications director for the hospital says they have seen a slight increase and says, "We have made preparations increasing patient care teams if we continue to see an increase volume today and throughout the weekend."

As TMH works to diagnose the issue it's a reminder that no business is immune to a cyber threat.

According to Dowling over 1 billion dollars was paid out last year to hackers.

"All organizations can be victim. There is no silver bullet to stop all threats. So, what we recommend to all people out there is a bundle approach to IT," said Dowling.

That bundle includes complicated passwords, running cyber-attack simulations, firewalls, anti-virus programs, and most importantly being on the lookout for email attacks.

All steps Dowling says will help but can't compete with staying vigilant. 

"You still have to be the human fire wall. You have to be responsible for your own actions," said Dowling.