U.S. and Canada Issue Cybersecurity Warning

In the past month, five different healthcare organizations in North America have been hit by a computer virus in a growing number of cybersecurity ransomware attacks on health systems.

    • Prime Healthcare Services have had three incidents of computer virus infections in the last two months.
    • Last week, King's Daughters' Health (Indiana) locked down computer systems to protect patient data after discovering an employees files were contaminated with a virus.
    • MedStar Health has continued its battle to fully restore its computer systems after a malicious software attack from last week that shut down the entire computer system.
    • In February, Hollywood Presbytarian Medical Center paid $17,000 to hackers using bitcoins to pay a ransom that would end the cyberattack that compromised its computer systems for over a week.

Ransomware hackers have captured headlines since 2012, when hackers were estimated to net $33,000 each day. Since then, both the United States-Computer Emergency Readiness Team and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center have seen many variants of ransomware encryptions - all of which have the purpose of rendering user files useless until a ransom is paid. These malicious viruses are spread through spam emails that can compromise entire computer systems. 

Read US-CERT's official warning statement here.