This week, hospital chain Medstar Health in Washington, D.C. was hit with a crippling ransomware attack that encrypted file systems on computers throughout the organization’s network. This is the third such case I’ve heard of in the past month, and the trend seems to be increasing within the healthcare industry, with hospitals being common victims. The outage costs for MedStar are thought to be about $1 million per day, yet the ransom being asked to decrypt all of the organization’s files is less than $20,000.
Why are hospitals being hit with ransomware?
Here are some of the reasons:
I expect that, as attackers learn to assess different industry business models, they will target new industry sectors in waves to exploit businesses with poorly trained staff. So, any industry that can be characterized with attributes such as those I listed above are likely to be targets in the near future.
What’s the solution?
For healthcare organizations – or any business that has very frequently updated records, and has a low tolerance for outages, or losing access to its data – you really need to have very frequent backups scheduled, in order to respond rapidly when an attack occurs.
You should also train staff on security awareness, with a regular schedule of updates on new trends. Today, it’s ransomware in healthcare organizations, but tomorrow, it could be something different, and even more damaging, in your industry.
For more information on this story, here’s a Washington Post article.