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Prescription orders delayed as US pharmacies grapple with "nation-state" cyber attack


February 23, 2024

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Prescription orders delayed as US pharmacies grapple with "nation-state" cyber attack

Prescription orders across the United States are reportedly being delayed after a cyber attack impacted a healthcare technology firm that supplies services to pharmacies, including CVS Health.

Change Healthcare says that it experienced a "cyber security issue" on Wednesday 21 February, that caused it to experience "enterprise-wide connectivity issues" and forced it to shut down systems.

It later confirmed that the "network interruption" it was experiencing was related to a "cyber security issue."

That would be bad news for any business, but when your company's service is used by pharmacies nationwide to. amongst other things, process medication orders and check patients' eligibility for treatment then it's a whole new world of pain for a much wider number of people.

US media reports that pharmacies have warned that the cyber attack has disrupted their ability to fulfil orders from patients paying for medicines through their insurance.

Change Healthcare, which claims to handle 15 billion healthcare transactions per year, says that once it became aware of the threat it took "immediate action" to disconnect its systems to prevent further impact on partners and patients.

The service provider has not confirmed the precise nature of the cyber attack.  But lets face facts - it's almost certainly ransomware.

In an SEC filing, Change Heathcare's parent company, UnitedHealth,  has claimed that a "suspected nation-state associated cyber security threat actor" is responsible for the attack on its systems.

Presently there is no estimate being offered as to how long the disruption will continue.

Law enforcement may have this week dealt a heavy blow to the LockBit ransomware group, but there are plenty of other ransomware operators still earning millions of dollars by locking down systems, encrypting networks, and exfiltrating data.




Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s.

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