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May 16, 2017

How Serious Is Ransomware?

In a recent British Medical Journal article, Krishna Chinthapalli, M.D., a neurology registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, warns that hospitals need to be more prepared for ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a computer virus that sends a communication to the victim demanding money in exchange for stolen data or access. A recent report from IBM Security found a 6,000% increase in the amount of ransomware incidents from 2015 to 2016. Although the average amount extorted was between $100 and $300, the average rate of payment from victims was 70%. According to the article, many U.S. hospitals have been the targets of ransomware. Last year, one Los Angeles hospital eventually paid $17,000 to regain the use of its computer network. And in the U.K., one third of all NHS trusts have reported a ransomware attack. Although many hospitals are targeted by ransomware, many will not admit that they have had a security breach or that they have paid the cybercriminals.

Last year, one Los Angeles hospital eventually paid $17,000 to regain the use of its computer network. Although many hospitals are targeted by ransomware, many will not admit that they have had a security breach or that they have paid the cybercriminals.

Considering that hospitals are a key component of the U.S. emergency infrastructure, should cyberattacks against hospitals including ransomware be considered a national security issue?

 
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