2 weeks into ransomware lockdown, German hospital awaits instructions from hackers

While all eyes were on Los Angeles-based HollywoodPresbyterianMedicalCenter's week-long digital hostage negotiation with nameless hackers that ransomed its EMR earlier this month, LukasHospital in Neuss, Germany, was racing to contain its own malware attack.

LukasHospital reported the incident to Germany's State Criminal Investigation Office, spokesperson Andreas Kremer, MD, told DW.

"Our IT department quickly realized that we caught malware that encrypts data," Dr. Kremer told DW. "We haven't received a concrete demand for money, but we've seen these pop up windows that appear if you don't stop the ransomware on a computer. The message in broken English points to an anonymous email address to get in touch with. Following the Criminal Police Office's advice, we didn't do that."

Opting to not reach out to the individuals responsible via the email address provided, LukasHospital is entering its third week without email access and has done its best to conduct business as usual using pen, paper and fax machines while IT professionals work to disentangle the system's network.

Dr. Kremer told DW certain surgeries have been delayed and when the systems come back online, there will be a considerable back log of notes to enter into the EMR system. The only data he is concerned about losing is anything that wasn't backed up when the attack began, but physical records of that information are in hand. 

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