France's Cannes Hospital in midst of major cyberattack

The Hôpital de Cannes - Simone Veil in France falls victim to a major cyberattack, shutting down all IT systems and forcing medical staff to fall back on handwritten kits to document patient services.

CHC-SV was the target of a cyber attack on Tuesday morning,” the hospital posted on X, translated from French.

“General cyber-containment was one of the first decisions of the crisis unit. This radical decision was taken very quickly in all sectors,” the hospital wrote, adding that “All computer access has been cut off. Telephony continues to work.”

“The cyberattack is currently being analyzed in conjunction with expert partners (ANSSI, Cert Santé, Orange CyberDéfense, GHT06). Investigations remain ongoing,” it concluded.

In its latest update Wednesday, April 17th, the hospital noted there has been no ransom demands or proof of any data theft so far.

“Cyberattack in progress” is splashed across the hospital’s home page, with a link to Day 2 details.

The hospital said it decided to cancel of roughly a third of non-urgent operations and several consultations scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. It also said that emergency sservice were still active due to help from surrounding area medical facilities and coordination with SAMU, France's national emergency organization.

Cannes Hospital cyberattack web 1
Image by Cybernews.

Since Tuesday, hospital workers have been bound to use time-consuming “degraded procedures” which are described by the hospital as “paper kits.”

“Everything is done to guarantee the continuation of care in complete safety in all fields of activity (emergencies, medicine, surgery, obstetrics, geriatrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, home hospitalization, rehabilitation)," CHC-SV said.

Although the staff has been using paper and pencils since Tuesday, the hospital’s website appears to be functioning normally and has also been posting situation updates about the attack there for the public.

Cannes Hospital web 2
Image by Cybernews.

Cannes Hospital employs 2,100 hospital personnel, including 230 doctors. The hospital is made up of eight centers responsible for emergency services, surgery, medical technology, cancer care, cardiology, obstetrics, and psychiatry.

Annually, the 869-bed hospital provides services for approximately 150,000 outpatients, 50,000 emergency room visits, 9,000 surgeries and 1,500 births each year.

CHC-SV said it has never been the victim of this type of cyberattack, but that it relied on the organizations well-established incident response procedures, already in place.

The hospital said it happened to carry out an simulation exercise of the response plan only a few month prior, allowing a strong response to the attack.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the hospital posted on X that “Despite the cyberattack to which we are subject, life continues in the departments of the Cannes hospital.”

The post included a picture of local students visiting pediatric patients to present an Olympic flame art project made by the students. The visit is "part of the journey of the Olympic flame, which will stop in Cannes on June 18th," the hospital noted.

CHC-SV did not provide a timeline for restoration, but did say that based on feedback from other hospitals who have fallen victim to an attack, “this return to normal can take a long time.”

The latest update stated that IT restoration capabilities will be prioritized according to the patient care process, to include patients’ electronic records and examination results first.

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