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Hospital is forced to payoff hackers to be able to care for their patients !

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  • Hospital is forced to payoff hackers to be able to care for their patients !

    A group of cyber-hackers got into the records of a hospital in Los Angeles and virtually held the hospital hostage for over a week , until the hospital agreed to pay a ransom in Bitcoin to the hackers.
    Because of the hackers, the hospital could not access the patients medical records, or see what treatments they needed, as well as many other aspects of the patient's information.
    Even though the FBI was called in, they were not able to secure the hospital and stop the hackers, and finally, the hospital had to pay the requested ransom on order to get into their computer again. Since Bitcoin is hard to track, the FBI was unable to even tell where the ransom money went to.

    This is a very scary thing, and now that it has happened once, the hackers will certainly be doing thi kind of thing with other hospitals who do not have good enough security, and even to other businesses who depend on their computer records.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...217-story.html

  • #2
    Jeeze!
    I had not yet heard about that. You would think that would make headlines.
    $17 000 seems like a very low number too.
    I wonder how the hospital let such serious security breach happen anyways...
    Even if they spend half of what the hackers demanded on upgrading their network security they would still be out ahead.
    Just goes to show you how important proper security can be.

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    • #3
      It just amazes me that the hospital didn't backup their files on patient records? It's such a simple way of ensuring that your files and documents won't be lost in case a disaster like this happens. And also, don't they have written records as well? Because many hospitals in my country still have written records of patients. So that in case the computer files are lost, you would still have tangible records with you.

      With hospitals, it pays to be extra safe. After all, you're not just a business, you're a health service provider. Thousands of lives depend on you and if you cannot give them the required services, you will be held liable for any deaths or injuries that happen in the hospital.

      And those hackers, they're quite ruthless. Imagine attacking a hospital, where there are sick and vulnerable people.:/

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      • #4
        I've worked in a medical records department in the past, and legislation might be different in different countries, but here in the UK an hospital is legally obliged to keep paper records of patients for 20 years in storage areas, just in case something like this does happen.

        The government is still looking at going 100% electronic when it comes to medical records but with security a huge issue, they're still looking at ways on how to do this so for now, paper records are still being used.
        Briannagodess likes this.

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        • #5
          It's pathetic that there are people out there who are so smart and have great knowledge on things like computers, but waste it doing stupid things like this. It gives out a bad name to people who know a lot about computers and I can imagine hackers who work for the government and for good causes such as Anonymous, pulling their hair out hearing idiotic stories such as this. But at least the hospital has learned a lesson and probably backs up more often. I bet the hackers were not fully aware of the extent of damage they could have done, not only financially but to peoples lives, innocent people no less.

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          • #6
            Hospital CEOs should ask Silicon Valley pros to install hack-proof programs in their networks so that cyber criminals won't be able to do as they please. Those people are using their brains for evil and the only way to stop them is to mobilize equally brilliant but morally grounded hackers.

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            • #7
              It seems that more and more large companies are starting to actually hire hackers in order to make sure their systems are hack proof. I find the funny irony in that their crimes are actually paying off for them in a good way. If they are that smart to hack into systems, they should drop their criminal ways and get real technology jobs.
              BranTheScooterMan likes this.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Briannagodess View Post
                It just amazes me that the hospital didn't backup their files on patient records? It's such a simple way of ensuring that your files and documents won't be lost in case a disaster like this happens. And also, don't they have written records as well? Because many hospitals in my country still have written records of patients. So that in case the computer files are lost, you would still have tangible records with you.

                With hospitals, it pays to be extra safe. After all, you're not just a business, you're a health service provider. Thousands of lives depend on you and if you cannot give them the required services, you will be held liable for any deaths or injuries that happen in the hospital.

                And those hackers, they're quite ruthless. Imagine attacking a hospital, where there are sick and vulnerable people.:/
                I think that this one of the disadvantages of relying too much on technology. It is indeed still a safe way to keep copies of patients' records and other important hospital data on paper in case computer breakdowns and things like this happens. This is the first case of hospital hostage through hacking but as Tumbleweed has said, there could be more to come considering that the hackers were able to get away with the money without them being tracked down because they used a virtual currency. This is certainly a wake up call for every one and every business relying mostly on the internet to always have a back-up of data printed and securely put in place in files.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pwarbi View Post
                  I've worked in a medical records department in the past, and legislation might be different in different countries, but here in the UK an hospital is legally obliged to keep paper records of patients for 20 years in storage areas, just in case something like this does happen.

                  The government is still looking at going 100% electronic when it comes to medical records but with security a huge issue, they're still looking at ways on how to do this so for now, paper records are still being used.
                  It's definitely better for hospitals to keep paper records for a set number of years. I also know that this is already a given for most hospitals that the paper records should be kept for a number of years, although it varies on what specifically the case is. For safety reasons, we shouldn't abandon traditional record keeping right now because this incident of hacking is likely to happen again. And I hope more hospitals realise this sad truth because the patients' lives are at stake if they don't have the records at hand.

                  It's really doubtful that all hospitals can go 100% electronic. If they do, they should at least backup their files! But going paper is the best route so no hackers can access the records. They could utilise both though since it's safer in case there's a fire or a flood and the paper records get lost, at least there's still the electronic records.

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                  • #10
                    I think as with most things these days, what systems they use will be dictated by money. While the initial outlay to go 100% electronic will cost a lot, in the longer run they'll be able to save money, deliver a smoother service aswell as free up the areas that are now being used to store the paper records.

                    As we've seen in this case though, for an hospital to go solely electronic is taking a big risk with patients lives, as if a person gets rushed in to hospital and they have no way of accessing their previous medical history for whatever reason, the doctors are going to be leaving themselves wide open.

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