Hacking incident on nursing home demonstrates threat of ransomware

Published on: 4 Dec 2019

A hacking incident in the US has demonstrated the dangers posed by ransomware when it is used against public institutions, particularly healthcare services.

Virtual Care Provider announced this month that it had been targeted by hackers who had demanded millions of dollars before access could be restored to hijacked servers.

The technology services company could not pay and so the 100 nursing homes it counts as its clients were locked out of patient records, could not pay employees, were unable to access the internet and, in some cases, could not order patient medications, the Journal Sentinel reported.

It was found that Russian hackers were behind the infiltration and cyber security experts had to scramble to repair the damage and rebuild servers.

However, the incident shows just how dangerous cyber attacks could be - even proving life-threatening in scenarios such as these.

Ransomware attacks have been on the rise this year, particularly those targeting public services, according to reports from both Coveware and SonicWall.

The FBI has even said cyber criminals are likely to target hospitals because they know they cannot afford not to pay ransoms.

Preparedness for this may be lacking, though, as Redscan recently found NHS hospital trusts only employ one qualified cyber security professional per 2,582 employees.