US hospital hit with ’random’ ransomware attack

A hospital in the US is still unable to fully access its computer system, over a week after cybercriminals launched a ransomware attack.

It has been reported that the individual(s) behind the attack at the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, which is based in Los Angeles, California, have demanded 9,000 bitcoins (approximately $3.6 million) in return for unlocking the computers.

While the hospital claims that no patient or employee information has been accessed, the incident has nevertheless seriously impacted on the day-to-day running of the medical center.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department have been drafted in to help investigate the cyberattack.

“We are investigating the compromise with partners at (the) LAPD to determine (the) person or group responsible,” Laura Eimiller, public affairs specialist at the Los Angeles division of the FBI, was quoted as saying.

It is unclear why the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has been targeted. However, the hospital’s CEO, Allen Stefanek, told NBC4 News that it was “not a malicious attack” and seems to be “random” in nature.

Ransomware attacks are likely to increase in 2016. According to ESET’s latest trends report, (In)Security Everywhere, these types of malicious software have grown in popularity because they offer cybercriminals the opportunity to make “significant profits”.

“Unfortunately, the success of this type of attack for cybercriminals has not only led them to extend it beyond the Windows systems and mobile devices, but its increasing impact has made it one of the greatest current concerns of consumers and companies alike,” ESET’s Camilo Gutiérrez Amay explains.

“We expect to continue seeing ransomware campaigns, trying to exploit new attack surfaces by prohibiting users from accessing their information or services.”

Author , We Live Security

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