Duke Health confirms website issues on day Russian hacking group threatened hospitals

On Monday, Duke Health experienced “intermittent issues” with its public website, a spokesperson for the Durham-based health system confirmed. And while Duke Health would not share the potential cause of these issues, the disruptions occurred on the day a pro-Russian hacking group publicly threatened several health care systems across the country.

Among the other hospital systems experiencing website issues Monday were Charlotte-based Atrium Health and the University of Michigan Health system, the latter of which publicly acknowledged that its site was hindered by a cyberattack.

The hacking group Killnet has claimed responsibility for Monday’s cyberattacks, including one on Duke Health, according to the technology company Bettercyber.

Killnet aligns itself with the Russian government and has focused on affecting organizations within the Ukraine-allied nations. According to the cybersecurity company BlackBerry, the group’s strategy has “consistent chiefly of nuisance-level” attacks against critical infrastructure within NATO countries.

The strategy Killnet is known to deploy is called denial-of-service attacks, which according to the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is when hackers “flood the targeted host or network with traffic until the target cannot respond or simply crashes, preventing access for legitimate users.”

When combined with Duke University, Duke Health is one of the largest employers in the Triangle region by a significant margin.

In a statement to The News & Observer discussing Monday’s website issues, Duke ensured that “all patient care systems function normally and there were no further impacts.”

This story was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work.

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