There has been another ransomware attack on a hospital today. Hancock Health is the latest victim of a ransomware attack that has left the doctors and nurses using pen and paper. Every week or so I am reading about another hospital hacked.

How they noticed this is the network started to run very slowly. Eventually, they found the one computer that flashed the message indicative of a typical ransomware attack. The hackers were holding the hospital’s data hostage until a ransom was paid to the hacker. The hacker used a very sophisticated attack, encrypting important pars of the Hancock Health network and demanded to be paid in Bitcoin, the untraceable internet currency. As of last Friday, the facility has enlisted the help of the FBI and an unnamed security firm to help learn more about this attack.

Why Hospitals?

According to a recent survey by University of Phoenix College of Health Professions, hackers are increasingly targeting patient records as healthcare providers do little to protect their data. The key reason, according to a healthcare cyber research report for 2017: stolen medical records are worth up to 5 times more than a regular record containing sensitive information. Attacks against the healthcare industry have increased 89% over one year. More medical records were stolen in the first half of 2017 than in all of 2016. Patient records are extremely valuable and hackers will go to great lengths to obtain them.

The best way to try to avoid these attacks is education. Your IT staff can work on tools to protect the network, but they staff has to be just as involved. They have to understand what they are clicking on, and who they are letting into the network. It’s important to make sure that your staff fully understands how to help avoid ransomware attacks and viruses when working on the hospital network.