Tuesday, October 26, 2021

‘Making our patients’ day better’: US hospitals need to beware of latest ransomware attacks

U.S. hospitals are being warned to be vigilant for the latest “ransomware” attack, with doctors, nurses and lab technicians warning of login failures that can potentially lead to patient deaths.

The WannaCry ransomware attack on Friday highlighted the vulnerability of many organizations and governments to these types of hacks. The ransomware was then linked to the North Korean government.

“Security is really what makes our patients’ day better,” Dr. Steve Dunn, president of University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said in a statement. “However, the potential for a cyber attack takes our security practices to a whole new level. We’re working closely with our cybersecurity experts to make sure the CECM/POS systems across the hospital are safe.”

“We’re just working closely with our cybersecurity experts to make sure the CECM/POS systems across the hospital are safe.” – Dr. Steve Dunn

U.S. hospitals have had their own hiccups with losing crucial data. In 2013, Pathway Health Inc. — which provides health-care services to military members, veterans and their families in the San Diego area — said it lost sensitive patient data after hackers made a connection on its computer network. In April, 1.8 million people in the UK learned their personal data may have been compromised after WannaCry infected computers at nearly 200 organizations.

“The methods of these cyber attacks are different. It’s not necessarily a personal attack,” Druce Taylor, vice president of security education at United Health Group, said on “America’s Newsroom.” “Many of these attacks include a breach of the data of organizations that would then potentially put the security of individuals who are in contact with sensitive information at risk.”

The WannaCry ransomware attack could be “played into from a security standpoint,” Taylor said. Hackers may be able to exploit networks and use that information to steal other more damaging data that would be used later in a criminal ring or in a sophisticated business.

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