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Vacaville hospital turns away patients due to cyber incident, systems down

NorthBay VacaValley hospital cyberattack? Here's how it's impacting patients.
NorthBay VacaValley hospital cyberattack? Here's how it's impacting patients. 02:52

VACAVILLE — Some patients are being turned away from NorthBay VacaValley Hospital because the facility is dealing with systemwide problems due to what they're calling a cyber incident.

"There was a problem yesterday I couldn't get through and [a worker] goes 'Yes, ma'am. We've had a cyber attack,' " patient Linda Sperow.

On April 1, Sperow tried to find business hours for the walk-in x-ray clinic under NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, but she didn't get very far.

"Website is not working. I tried phoning [and] couldn't get a phone number, then sat on the line 45 minutes. I didn't give up," she said.

After several attempts of trying to connect with someone, she showed up Tuesday morning to get an x-ray, only to be turned away because their system was down. They couldn't check her in or access her records.

"Any conglomerate is susceptible to this. We hear about it all the time and there's times when we don't hear about it," Sperow said.

NorthBay Health said in a statement to CBS13: "Upon detecting this incident, we launched an investigation and engaged leading external cybersecurity experts to support our response. We are working diligently to restore systems as quickly and safely as possible."

"It's not just about the money. It's all about the money. Sometimes it's stealing the data. Sometimes it's putting the organization in an untenable situation so nobody can access information or receive services and it puts a lot of pressure on the organization," said Paule Keener, a cyber expert with Guidepoint Security.

Keener said no one is safe from a cyber breach, and hospitals can be especially targeted because they're rich with data.

"They're looking to find information — so a patient's date of birth, social security number, credit card number, where they live, any medical information that would give them the ability to create an account or take over an account and get money," he said.

Keener said to be on the lookout for phishing scams if your data was compromised.

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