Hackers take hospital hostage on million dollar ransom

In this day of technology, it is excusable for hackers to virtually break into a bank, education institution, government office, but a hospital?

Well, I guess we should not count them out yet after Hollywood Presbyterian Medical center’s computer systems were taken hostage for a week.

According to BBC, the hackers demanded $3.4m to provide the codes to unlock the stolen data. Despite being cut off all sorts of communication, the actual ransom has not been confirmed and the hackers were not able to access hospital documents.

According to FBI, Los Angeles Police and computer forensics experts hired by the hospital, the hackers carried out a random attack without placing any specific target.

The hospital is able to undertake its daily activities without the use of internet. Everything is now done on paper.

Hospitals are usually busy especially on a weekend or if there’s an outbreak. In case of a disaster in the area, hospital officials and patients will be endangered since most tasks will be done manually hence increasing mortality rate in the hospital.

Doctors and other hospital staff expressed their frustration after the attack because their work is now tripled.

On the other end, patients are forced to travel long distances to pick their medical results instead of receiving them electronically.

In this digital age ransomware attacks are increasing and security experts are unable to protect institutions.

How it works

Malicious software is placed on a computer – often via phishing attacks – and proceeds to lock up files. Ransomware will typically try to extort money from the user quickly, saying that if the demand is not met, the files will be deleted. The most common type of ransomware is a malware package known as Cryptolocker, which experts say has infected hundreds of thousands of machines around the world.

According to a report released by Intel Corp.’s McAfee Labs, the number of cyberattacks where malware holds user data hostage is expected to grow in 2016 as hackers target more companies and advanced software is able to compromise more types of data.

McAfee Labs researchers saw more than 4 million samples of ransomware in the second quarter of 2015, including 1.2 million that were new, and expects those instances to grow in 2016. That compares to fewer than 1.5 million total samples in the third quarter 2013, when fewer than 400,000 were new.

Erick Vateta564 Posts

--- Erick Vateta is a lawyer by training, poet, script and creative writer by talent, a model, and tech enthusiast. He covers International tech trends, data security and cyber attacks.


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