We mainly hear about data breaches and ransomware in the healthcare industry because your health data is the MOST VALUABLE commodity to hackers, pirates and other slimy types of folks preying on your data and willingness to type away and submit online. Those companies that have to be HIPAA compliance are the most targeted.
Hopefully you don't have firsthand knowledge of ransomware, but let me catch you up on the term. Ransomware, a type of computer virus that arrives via email attachment, website link, or other online exploit, continues to present a major problem for businesses. Once a virus infects a host computer, it connects to illicit servers, usually located in a foreign country, that then transmit personal information like your IP address, geographic area, system setup, and login details. Those servers will then create a random encryption key that can lock up individual files, both those located on your actual machine and those on any external hard drives or shared networks.
Once those files are encrypted, users cannot access them without paying a ransom to obtain a decryption key — unless, of course, they have
This issue is not limited to the healthcare industry. If you collect data and are not isolated in a data island, you are vulnerable. If your servers and workstations connect, especially if people are connecting through a "secure" remote link, you are vulnerable. How much time and money would you want to spend recreating data, finding back up copies, rebuilding workstations and servers to clean them up? Why not take some precautions to avoid this issue the best you can? If you still aren 't motivated, read the story below, you may change your mind:
Tim Davis of CMIT Solutions of Manhattan, West Midtown shared a particularly winceful story about Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in LA.
"Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles was hit by ransomware in February, when its computer systems went offline for more than week and hackers demanded $3.6 million to restore the company’s files. And on March 28th,hackers disrupted the operations of DC-area hospital chain MedStar Health, Inc. Both of those events had such a negative impact on business that critical procedures couldn’t be carried out — some patients even had to be moved to nearby facilities for treatment.
In addition, hospital employees couldn’t access patient data, email messages, and other important information. Instead, they had to rely on good old-fashioned pen and paper, along with fax machines and other antiquated technologies that had a major impact on productivity and efficiency. Most tellingly, in Hollywood, the hospital refused to reveal what kind of data backup system it had in place.
The hospital and the FBI claimed that no patient records were accessed by hackers because of the ransomware infection, but another recent NBC News story revealed that one in three Americans had their health care records compromised in 2015, many via the exact kind of ransomware attack mentioned above."
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