3 updates on MedStar Health's malware event

Columbia, Md.-based MedStar Health is still working on putting all its IT systems back online. Here are three of the latest updates on this story.

1. MedStar Health's latest news update came Wednesday at 3 p.m. "MedStar is not only continuing to move toward full restoration of our major IT systems, but has maintained its promise to meet the care needs of the communities we serve," according to the statement. The health system said it maintained nearly normal volume levels during the computer downtime, with just a few exceptions.

The health system provided a breakdown of its patient volume levels and activity since taking its computer system offline Monday, reporting care for more than 6,000 patients in hospitals and ambulatory centers. According to MedStar, the health system treated an average of 3,380 patients per day in its 10 hospitals, treated 2,400 patients in the emergency departments, performed 782 surgeries and birthed 72 babies.

"The disruption to our systems has not impacted our ability to provide quality care to our patients, and we regret any inconveniences to our patients and the extra challenges to our associates that the perpetrators of this attack have caused," said Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, CMO of MedStar Health, in the statement.

2. The health system has still not disclosed the nature of the attack, only calling it a "malicious malware attack." However, news outlets report it was a ransomware incident. MedStar employees told The Washington Post they saw pop-up ransom notes demanding the system pay 45 bitcoins, or roughly $19,000, to unlock the computer systems. The Washington Post reportedly obtained an image of the ransom note, which said, "You just have 10 days to send us the bitcoin. After 10 days we will remove your private key and it's impossible to recover your files."

3. The Baltimore Sun reported receiving a copy of the hackers' demands, and said the cyber criminals have offered MedStar a discount of sorts to release all the data. According to the report, the hackers said the health system can send 3 bitcoins (approximately $1,250) to unlock one infected computer, or 45 bitcoins to unlock them all. It is unclear if one payment of 45 bitcoins would unlock all MedStar's computers, according to The Baltimore Sun.

More articles on malware:

Ransomware a 'legal ambiguity,' not quite a data breach 
Malware attack hits Chino Valley Medical Center, Desert Valley Hospital 
To pay or not to pay ransom: A tale of two hospitals 

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