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Pay Up or Else! Indiana Hospital Latest Victim of Ransomware Attack

· January 14, 2018 · 7:15 am

Hancock Regional Hospital in Indiana is the latest victim of a ransomware attack by hackers who are demanding a payment in bitcoins.

Technology is definitely a two-edged blade. The lightning-fast speed offered by the internet allows for people to connect instantly with each other from all over the world. Movies can be streamed, video conferences attended, and online games played due to the innovations made in tech over the last twenty years. On the flip side, such connectivity also allows criminals to target individuals and businesses from anywhere in the world just by the use of some malicious code. The latest example of this is a hospital in Indiana that has suffered a ransomware attack.

Hospital Held Hostage

Hackers making ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace. Sadly, even hospitals are now being targeted by criminals. Hancock Regional Hospital, located in Indiana, revealed that they had been attacked last Thursday evening.

Hospital employees were aware of the attack immediately. However, hackers were able to affect the hospital’s internal operating systems, email system, and electronic health records. Hospital officials stress that no patient information was compromised. The hackers demanded a sum of bitcoins to release the systems, but the hospital has refused to pay. (The total amount of the demanded ransom has not been released.)

Using Pen and Paper

The hospital initially had an IT incident response company look into the matter, but it turns out the attack was beyond their scope. Now the FBI has been called in.

Fortunately, the hospital is still able to function despite the ransomware attack. However, they are now forced to keep pen and paper records.

The official statement from Hancock Regional Hospital about the hacking attack states:

Hancock Regional Hospital has been the victim of a criminal act by an unknown party that attempted to shut down out operations via our information systems by locking our computer network and demanding payment for a digital key to unlock it. Unfortunately this sort of behavior is widespread in the world today, and we had the misfortune to be next on the list. We are working closely with an IT incident response company and national law enforcement. At this time, we are deep into the analysis of the situation and see no indication that patient records have been removed from our network. In addition to excellent performance by our IT Department, our clinical teams have performed exceptionally well, and patient care has not been compromised. Our doors are open at Hancock Regional Hospital.

A Growing Problem

Hancock Regional Hospital is the latest in a long line of businesses and entities that have suffered a ransomware attack. Credit agency Equifax was hit with a $2.3 ransom demand back in September. Then the Sacramento Regional Transit system was attacked in November, with the hackers demanding a single bitcoin in ransom. Last December saw the county government of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, having their server files held for a 2 bitcoin ransom.

It’s a given that ransomware attacks are going to continue. The fact that every government agency, business, and health care facility are all connected online provides an abundance of victims that hackers can target, no matter where they’re located in the world.

Do you think the hospital should pay the ransomware demand? Will such attacks increase in frequency in the near future? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Pixabay, Pxhere, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Říj 28

Law Firms are Opening Bitcoin Wallets in Anticipation of Potential Ransomware Attacks

· October 27, 2017 · 9:00 pm

With the recent rise of ransomware attacks targeting corporations worldwide, law firms are taking what many are deeming ‘appropriate’ preemptive security measures.

WannaCry 2.0

WannaCry 2.0

In the last couple of years, many corporations and businesses have been affected by ransomware, malware and other hacking attacks. This year hackers were able to successfully attack several big corporations and government agencies. In May 2017, hackers were able to infect hundreds of thousands of computers with an advanced malware called ‘WannaCry’. According to cybersecurity experts, the hackers were able to infect over 300,000 computers worldwide. The countries that were the most affected by the attacks were Russia, Taiwan, and Ukraine, however, the attack was also able to infect western countries.

In Germany, the biggest railway operator Deutsche Bank was also a victim of the WannaCry ransomware. The British National Health Service was also one of the major victims of the WannaCry ransomware. WannaCry was able to slip into computers through phishing attacks and malicious files that users downloaded. The advanced ransomware is able to completely encrypt the hard drives of the computer that it infects. After the ransomware successfully encrypts the hard drives and all files, it will ask the victim to pay a ransom in Bitcoin in order to decrypt the hard drive and make accessible again for the victim. IT experts are warning users not to pay the ransom since there is no guarantee that the hard drive will actually decrypt after the ransom was paid.

Prepared for the Worst but Hoping for the Best

Prepared for the Worst but Hoping for the Best

After the devasting WannaCry attack, many corporations and government agencies took major steps in order to upgrade their cybersecurity infrastructure. According to a recent article by Business Insider, several law firms are preemptively preparing for such attacks by opening up Bitcoin wallets.

The president of cybersecurity and IT of LogicForce, John Sweeny, stated that LogicForce will soon open a Bitcoin wallet, in case they become victims of ransomware. Sweeny also stated following regarding the whole situation:

We are predicting there are going to be more sophisticated attempts to intrude at firms that work with highly visible clients whose IP or business information is extremely valuable,

IT experts are advising big corporations and government agencies to invest more in cybersecurity and be more careful with the software that they install in their networks.

What are your thoughts on the WannaCry attack? Do you think that more law firms should open Bitcoin wallets in order to pay the ransom on time? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Pixabay