Citing a trojan outbreak, a medical center system in britain has canceled all designed businesses and diverted major stress instances to neighboring facilities. The event emerged as U.K. market leaders detailed a nationwide cyber security strategy that assures billions in cybersecurity spending, new special police force units to follow planned online gangs, and the opportunity of retaliation for major episodes.
In the “major occurrence” alert put up to its Site, the Country wide Health Service’s Lincolnshire and Goole trust said it made a decision to cancel surgeries and divert stress patients after having a virus afflicted its electronic digital systems on Weekend, October 30.
“Inpatients will continue to be cared for and discharged as soon as they are medically fit. Major trauma cases will continue to be diverted to neighboring hospitals as will high risk women in labour.”
Although the NHS didn’t say what kind of virus infected its systems, it is likely an infestation of ransomware — a malware scourge whose purveyors have taken to targeting hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Ransomware scours an infected computer for documents, audio files, pictures and other things likely to be of value to the system’s owner, and then encrypts that data with very powerful encryption software. Most ransomware variants also scour the local network for other systems or network shares to infect. Victims usually can only get their files back after paying a specified ransom demand using a virtual currency, such as Bitcoin.
Earlier this year, experts began noticing that cybercriminals were using ransomware to target hospitals — organizations that are heavily reliant on instant access to patient records. In March 2016, Henderson, Ky.-based Methodist Hospital shut down its computer systems after an infection from the Locky strain of ransomware. Just weeks before that attack, a California hospital that was similarly besieged with ransomware paid a $17,000 ransom to get its files back.
According to a recent report by Intel Security, the healthcare sector is experiencing over 20 data loss incidents per day related to ransomware attacks. The company said it identified almost $100,000 in payments from hospital ransomware victims to specific bitcoin accounts so far in 2016.
As dependent as healthcare systems are on computers and information technology, the notion that a computer virus could result in bodily injury or death is no longer the stuff of Hollywood movie scripts. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is for the most part still catching up in its ability to anticipate, prevent and respond to these types of cyber attacks.
As macabre as it may sound, perhaps people dying because of poor cybersecurity is exactly what it will take for more organizations to dedicate the necessary resources toward adequately defending the systems upon which they so heavily rely.
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