Hospitals continue to be attacked by Ransomware
Alvarado Hospital Medical Center was yet another one of many hospitals recently attacked by Ransomware infections.
This was the third hospital owned by Prime Healthcare Services to be hit with malware in less than 30 days; Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital had also been affected but were able to recover systems with minimal disruption and without having to pay any ransom.
Alvarado said it had taken "extraordinary steps to protect and expeditiously find a resolution to this disruption," according to a statement provided to the Union-Tribune, but offered little other detail except to say patient and employee records had not been compromised. "The hospital remains fully operational, and no patients have been turned away. All significant clinical systems needed for operations are fully functional," said hospital spokesperson Laura Gilbert. "Our IT team took great efforts to protect and restore our systems and a ransom was never paid."
Meanwhile, another hospital, this one in southeast Indiana, said it proactively powered down all its computer systems on Wednesday, after discovering that a single employee's filed had been infected with Locky ransomware virus.
King's Daughters' Health officials told Indiana's WSCH radio that patient data was secure and had not been compromised, and that it would restart its computer systems once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, KDH is using manual processes to continue operations.
Linda Darnell, the hospital's senior director of IT, told the station that ongoing staff education about these evolving cyber threats had helped employees act quickly to contain the Locky virus once it was found.
Unfortunately this is becoming the norm. However, there are many things you can do to protect yourself from Ransomware. Here are our suggestions:
1. Lock down your network regardless of the number of users. This includes a daily updated antivirus/malware application that works in conjunction with a robust network router.
2. Only download programs that are legal, well known, and come from a legitimate website.
3. Only open attachments from people when you are actually expecting that email. If you receive an email from a friend with an attachment and you are not expecting one, call them and verify first, prior to opening that attachment.
4. Make sure your data is backed up regularly. Store this backup separately in the event of a attack such as this. Many different things can happen to your data such as viruses, malware, fire, flood, theft, etc. and this will help to ensure the integrity of your data.
5. Have a secure password to access your computer, have a secure router protecting your network and password protect any important documents.
For further information about how to protect your system contact a member of our Orange County Computer technical team at (949) 699-6619 or contact us by clicking here.