Petronella Blog Archive

Visit our New Blog

DC Healthcare Facility Victim of Ransomware

Blog Post

Another healthcare facility has fallen victim to hackers holding their systems hostage and demanding a ransom payment to regain access. Washington DC’s MedStar Health had to completely shut down its email and patient records database Monday after being hit with a ransomware attack.

MedStar has 10 hospitals and more than 250 outpatient facilities, with more than 30,000 employees, and serving hundreds of thousands of patients. Considering the scale of their operation and that patient scheduling, records, and even the lowest level of communication were all down, unfortunately this is probably another example of it being cheaper and far more convenient to just pay the ransom.

The FBI is investigating the attack, but this isn’t the only ransomware infection recently. Hospitals in both Kentucky and California have fallen prey, with an LA hospital paying $17,000 after being shut down by the Locky strain of ransomware.

According to the FBI, cybercriminals comb the internet looking for organizations that post their contact information online, then they bombard them with phishing emails. With more people paying the ransom, these type of attacks are becoming more common. Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable because unlike the financial services industry, their employees aren’t trained to recognized suspicious emails.

If you think you might be at risk for being taken advantage of by ransomware, download the free Ransom Protection Checklist or sign up to receive it by mail. If you find that you might be at risk, schedule a free 10 minute Ransomware Safety Review.