Many have predicted that health care providers will continue to be targeted by hackers in the next few years. To illustrate the point, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has been hit hard by a ransomware attack.
According to the Medical Center, its electronic medical record system has been offline for almost two weeks as a result of a ransomware attack. Although it was originally reported that the hackers demanded $3.6 million in Bitcoin payment, the hospital released its official statement on February 17, 2016, stating that hospital employees notices “issues” accessing the computer network on February 5.
The IT department responded and confirmed a malware attack. The malware “locked access to certain computer systems and prevented us from sharing communications electronically.” The Medical Center is working with law enforcement and computer experts.
The Medical Center flatly denied paying 9000 Bitcoins—the equivalent of $3.4 million, and stated that “the amount of ransom requested was 40 Bitcoins, equivalent to approximately $17,000” and the Medical Center confirmed that it paid the ransom.
Apparently, as we have seen in other cases, the hackers’ word was good, and once the ransom was paid, the hackers restored the system to working order. According to the Medical Center, the electronic medical system was restored on February 15.
Nonetheless, the incident took a toll on the Medical Center, with reports that it was working off of paper records and diverting patients to other providers. The health care sector took a hard hit last year with data breaches, and it does not look like it will be any better in 2016.