Healthcare Ransomware

Healthcare RansomwareProspect Medical Holdings suffered a ransomware attack Thursday, forcing hospitals and clinics to close Friday while computer systems were taken offline to respond to the breach. The Califonia-based healthcare company manages hospitals and medical centers in California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The network outage forced some hospitals to divert ambulance care to other facilities, and multiple hospitals in the network were still experiencing closures and delays Monday.

Elective surgeries, outpatient appointments, and other non-emergency services were suspended Friday, and emergency departments were forced to use paper records for patient tracking. John Riggi, the American Hospital Association’s national advisory for cybersecurity and risk, commented, “These are threat-to-life crimes, which risk not only the safety of the patients within the hospital, but also risk the safety of the entire community that depends on the availability of that emergency department to be there.”

“Upon learning of this, we took our systems offline to protect them and launched an investigation with the help of third-party cybersecurity specialists,” the company said in a statement Friday. “While our investigation continues, we are focused on addressing the pressing needs of our patients as we work diligently to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.”

The healthcare sector is the industry most often targeted by cyberattacks and represents the most expensive ransomware payments, averaging $11 million each. Healthcare is attractive to criminals because they store large amounts of sensitive data, including health records and payment information. The pandemic forced more healthcare services online using third-party tools and cloud-based storage. These new tools added cybersecurity variables to an already busy industry. The quality of data security varies from business to business, so some healthcare companies can be easier targets than others. The National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI are part of the ongoing investigation.

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Posted by Charles Wright