Posts Authored by Allen R. Killworth

U.S Department of Homeland Security issues alert on hospital ransomware attacks

In the wake of recent ransomware attacks on hospitals, the Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued an alert regarding ransomware and recent variants. The alert notes that already this year, destructive ransomware variants, such as Locky and Samas, have infected computers belonging to health care facilities and hospitals. US-CERT states that the alert is “to provide further information on ransomware, specifically its main characteristics, its prevalence, variants that may be proliferating, and how users can prevent and mitigate against ransomware.”

For more, read the latest health care analysis.

Data Breach, General News, Prevention

Another hospital system targeted by possible ransomware cyber-attack

MedStar Health, which operates 10 hospitals in Maryland and Washington, D.C., has become the latest hospital system victimized by a cyber-attack on its medical records system.

On Tuesday, March 29, it was reported in the Washington Post that the system was “crippled” by a virus and was forced to shut down its records system on Monday. The newspaper also reported that the attack was causing delays in treatment and diversion of patients. Information that was not confirmed by the hospital system indicated that the attackers were holding the system’s records hostage, demanding 45 bitcoins (approximately $19,000) to release the data. The FBI said it was investigating whether the unknown hackers demanded a ransom to restore systems. The hospital system stated that it had acted quickly to contain the virus and had found no evidence that information had been stolen by the attackers.

Unfortunately, this is at least the third such attack on hospital systems in recent months, following the attacks on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California and Methodist Hospital in Kentucky.

Data Breach, General News