A series of ransomware attacks directed at hospitals in the United States is not only making many nervous but also highlighting the vulnerability of private health records. Hackers prey on healthcare facilities with the ability to pay and the need to protect their data. Enterprise Tech brought this news to our attention in their article, “Hospital Ransomware Attacks Spark IT Security Debate.

One of the more recent examples was at Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Ky., which declared an “internal state of emergency” after hackers easily penetrated its IT infrastructure. Ransomware was used to encrypt hospital files and the victims were required to pay a ransom for the keys to unlock files.

A similar situation happened to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center recently where their computer system was down for more than a week before they paid the requested 40 bitcoins (approximately $17,000).

But this time the hospital declined to pay the requested equivalent of about $1,600 in Bitcoin currency for the keys. Instead, it shut down the effected IT infrastructure and relied on backup copies of infected records.

This situation reinforces the need for back-ups – frequent and complete back-ups.

Melody K. Smith

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