Late last Thursday, Jan 11th, a hospital in Greenfield had become the victim to a hackers malware. The malware was ransomware that had locked up their computer systems, preventing access to patient information and other necessary medical records.
Part of the Greenfield health network became locked down due to ransomware, preventing further medical action for more than 1,400 patients, who’s files were changed to the name “im sorry”. The hacker or hackers had given the hospital seven days to pay the ransom or the files would be encrypted permanently, causing huge issues for the potential safety of the patients who’s files had been locked.
An analysis since the attack was conducted and confirmed that no patient data had been stolen. The location of the hackers are believed to be somewhere in eastern Europe, stated Steve Long, the CEO of Hancock Health. The files affected by the ransomware could have been retrieved from a back up location, however the time it would have taken to recover that information would have been costly, so the ransom was paid.
The ransom amount was $55,000, through the currency known as Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that is almost untraceable. Four bitcoins would be sufficient for the payment and would unlock the hospital records. Once the payment was received the hackers had released the documents and stayed true to their word. There is expectation that some of the technology will be a little off as a result from the outside hack, and there had been reports of a couple screens flashing the ransomware again, however it was only momentary and did not reactivate.
It was learned that the hackers had gained access through the hospitals remote-access portal, logging in with an outside vendors credentials. Initially it was believed that an employee had opened an email that contained the ransomware on accident.
As a response to the recent invasion, the hospital enlisted some help and knowledge from the FBI and cyber-security companies to ensure there is no residual affects, and inquire about other actions that could have been taken, as well as way to prevent the same problem from occurring again. As an added security measure, hospital leaders asked employees to alter their passwords and implemented new software that can detect patterns indicating a similar attack may be on the horizon.
Luckily this hacker group or person had stayed true to their word, otherwise the files of patients would have been missing for a few days, possibly causing complications for patients and hospital employees alike. 2018 is turning out to be rough, and we are only 16 days in. Let’s all pull together and ensure our tomorrows are brighter than our yesterdays! Have a great week everyone!