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Russian Intelligence Officers Allegedly Behind Malware Attack Of Western PA Health System

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Heritage Valley Health System's Edgeworth clinic.

A federal indictment from a Pittsburgh grand jury accuses Russian intelligence officers of perpetrating a malware attack against Heritage Valley Health System three years ago.  

The indictment says the alleged Moscow-based hackers, “knowingly and intentionally conspired…to deploy destructive malware and take other disruptive actions, for the strategic benefit of Russia.”

Heritage Valley has medical facilities in McKees Rocks, Beaver and Sewickley. The Justice Department says that in late June 2017 malware rendered the medical system’s servers inaccessible, compromising operations at two hospitals, 60 physician offices, and 18 satellite facilities.

“Workstations were locked; patient lists, patient medical history information, physical examination files, and prior laboratory records were inaccessible,” reads the indictment. “The attack also caused Heritage Valley to lose access to its mission-critical computer systems (such as those relating to cardiology, nuclear medicine, radiology, and surgery) for approximately one week and other administrative computer systems for almost one month.”  

The Justice Department says it cost Heritage Valley $2 million to recover from the attack.

The indictment alleges those same conspirators hacked entities associated with the 2018 Winter Olympics; and also perpetrated a phishing campaign against Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 campaign for president of France.

The intelligence officers face charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, damage to computers, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting. NPR reports it’s unlikely the men will be extradited to the US to stand trial.

Heritage Valley did not respond to a request for comment.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio. As a contributor to the NPR-Kaiser Health News Member Station Reporting Project on Health Care in the States, Sarah's print and audio reporting frequently appears on NPR and KFF Health News.