Colorado Hospital Patient Information System Hit by Crypto Ransomware
Hackers have infected the infrastructure of Parkview Medical Center — the largest health center in Pueblo County, Colorado — with cryptocurrency ransomware.
Citing a hospital employee, Fox News reported on April 24 that Meditech — the Parkview Medical Center’s system for storing patient information — was infected with ransomware and rendered inoperable. The hospital confirmed the incident in a statement:
“On Tuesday, April 21, Parkview Medical Center was the target of a cyber-incident which has resulted in an outage in a number of our IT systems.”
As Cointelegraph recently reported, ransomware attacks against hospitals are ongoing, despite the fall in the overall number of attacks amid the coronavirus crisis.
Brett Callow, a threat analyst at cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, told Cointelegraph that because of the ongoing pandemic “ransomware attacks have the potential to be devastating and could very well result in the loss of life.”
Callow also said that because of this, some cybercrime groups may now be more motivated to attack hospitals than usual:
“Certain actors may well be more motivated to attack healthcare providers at this point in time. Hospitals are already strained — overwhelmed, in some cases — and criminals may believe they would have no option but to pay, and to pay very quickly.”
Parkview Medical Center also told Fox that it has switched to a paper record system to track and treat patients:
“Upon learning of the incident, Parkview immediately engaged leading third-party forensic experts to investigate and mitigation is well underway. Patient care is always our first priority. Patients will not see any impact to the level or quality of care being delivered.”
Ransomware is a major cybersecurity threat
Ransomware malware is rapidly evolving and is increasingly viewed by many as a major — if not the biggest — cybersecurity threat. While nearly all ransomware discovered so far demands a ransom in cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity firm Check Point recently unveiled a new ransomware attack wherein the attackers require credit card payment.
As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, another innovative ransomware recently started its switch from Bitcoin (BTC) to Monero (XMR) in an attempt to protect the cybercriminal’s identity.