Hospital computer issues stem from ransomware

Grays Harbor Community Hospital’s computer problems the past couple of weeks are an issue of ransomware.

In a ransomware attack, hackers compromise the computer network of the target, usually encrypting information and making it inaccessible unless the target pays to get encryption codes.

Public Hospital District 2 administrators won’t comment on the record about its problems, other than to say that it is experiencing computer issues and that it is using paper documentation. In a statement about 10 days ago, the hospital said it was having computer issues, but didn’t mention a ransomware attack and said the “hospital will continue to treat patients with the same quality of care and professionalism.”

The attack affects the hospital and the Harbor Medical Group, which includes some individual doctors’ offices and Hospital District 2-owned clinics.

It’s not known whether the hospital has contacted the FBI, but Aberdeen Police Chief Steve Shumate said he had recently spoken with someone in hospital administration on a routine check-in call and a ransomware attack didn’t come up. “Nobody from the hospital has reached out to report a crime along those lines,” he said.

A ransomware attack would be a violation of cyber extortion laws, Shumate said, and proper protocol would be to contact local authorities, who would then contact the FBI.

The Daily World submitted a list of questions to the hospital Friday, but was told hospital officials would make no comment at this time.