Hancock Regional Hospital CEO details ransomware attack

Steve Long, CEO of Hancock Regional Hospital, never thought a ransomware attack would happen at his organization, he told CBS News. But as the FBI notes, anyone can be the victim of ransomware attack.

Hancock Regional Hospital is a 100-bed medical center in Greenfield, Ind. Being its size, Mr. Long was surprised to learn it had been affected by ransomware in January 2018. Mr. Long said the hackers had encrypted every file on the hospital's computers and network.

The ransomware attackers gave Hancock Regional Hospital a week to pay $55,000 for the decryption keys to regain access to files, CBS News reports.

"Our only choice was the wipe the system and hope that we had backups or purchase the decryption keys," Mr. Long told CBS News. The backups on the computer system, however, were also infected with the ransomware. Mr. Long believed he had no choice but to pay the ransom.

For ransomware attacks to be successful, hackers cannot always ask for millions of dollars, making Hancock Regional Hospital's ransom attack a common scenario.

"Everybody doesn't have millions to pay, right? So finding the sweet spot and sticking to it has worked well," Tom Pace, vice president of Blackberry-Cylance, a security firm, told CBS News.

More articles about cybersecurity:
5 common questions about HIPAA, answered
Hospitals can leverage AI to combat cyberattacks, report finds
Virus prevented California medical group from accessing records, exposed 198,000 patients

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