Security threats are rampant in this digital age where almost all crucial documents are stored on the web.
When hackers take control of such data by infecting the system with ransomware, people in the healthcare industry usually have no other choice but to pay the ransom so as to gain access to their important data.
According to information from the security sector, it has been confirmed that some of the servers in an Indiana hospital have now fallen prey to a ransomware attack.
When the hospital’s employees tried to access those files, they were unable to do so. The files didn’t load properly as they did before, which confirmed that the server was being controlled by a third party.
System Down with a “Sorry” Message
Earlier this month, employees of the Adams Memorial Hospital of Decatur, Indiana found the issue and immediately contacted the administrators.
As files are being stored in multiple servers, the admins confirmed that not all of them had been infected with the ransomware but some of them were, which is why the files were incorrectly displayed on their system.
On behalf of the hospital, a spokesperson conveyed the security breach to the press.
She confirmed that the systems suddenly went blank and a screen displayed nothing but a single message saying, “Sorry.”
A similar hacking attempt has been done in the past, and the particular attack has been dubbed “I’m Sorry” by security company BitDefender.
In a blog post, the experts who work in the anti-malware software development brand confirmed that this is not the first time the issue has surfaced.
It was originally spotted in 2017 and has been prevalent since then, showing up at different locations and randomly taking control of files—forcing the victims to pay up to get their documents back.
How the I’m Sorry Ransomware Works
Based on previous records and what security experts have discovered so far, the ransomware will breach the computer system and append all files in the server or a computer into “imsorry.” As a result, the victim will not be able to open the files or save them elsewhere.
A .txt file will also be added to the server providing instructions on how an affected person can pay the ransom and decrypt all the encrypted files in a folder.
In a hospital, the consequences of a ransomware attack are high. Within Adams Memorial’s outpatient clinic, doctors and physicians were unable to gain access to patient records or schedule appointments for their next visit.
The issue affected about 60 to 80 patients, making it a big deal for the center which was supposed to offer undeterred services throughout the year.
Because of the ransomware, the Adams Memorial Hospital didn’t have a choice but to give in to the I’m Sorry hackers and pay them the sum of $50,000 in order to gain access to their files again.
Similar to this attack, another healthcare institution named Hancock Health of Greenfield lost access to their data in mid-January.
Officials at the hospital ultimately paid the $50,000 ransom sum in order to get their data back. The sum is known through the .txt file left by the hackers.
The BitDefender security team has identified that the ransomware attacks are taking place in a pattern, specifically targeting all the healthcare centers in a particular locality.
And there is no solid way to detect and prevent these attacks from taking place apart from the usual preventive measures such as using an anti-malware or spyware program that most servers are equipped with.
Besides, if it is a technology company that’s being targeted by hackers, the systems are usually encrypted to the core and the best experts are deployed to safeguard the data from a breach.
But it seems that hackers are now trying to take advantage of the lack of such defensive measures within the healthcare industry.