Ransomware attack and data breach

February 24th, 2016 by admin Leave a reply »

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (HPMC) was on the verge of data breach but paid $17,000 after a ransomware attack. According to the reports, the cyber attack encrypted its EHR files and demanded the sum of money in exchange for the encryption key.

HPMC believes that there is no sign of information misuse stored on the EHR. HPMC discovered the breach after staff members got issues accessing parts of the hospital network. After a thorough investigation, hospital believed that it had fallen victim to a malware attack that kept them from accessing patient medical files stored in their EHR.

Forty bitcoins, an equivalent of $17,000 was asked as a ransom amount. As per HPMC, It paid the $17,000 ransom because that was typically the quickest and easiest way to regain access to its EHR files.

Hospital gained full access to the files. It was completely cleansed of the malware and checked for adequate security standards.

According to the  CEO and president Allen Stefanek –

I am very proud of the dedication and hard work of our staff who have maintained the highest level of service, compassion and quality of care to our patients throughout this process,” Stefanek wrote. “I am also thankful for the efforts of the technical staff as the EMR systems were restored, and their continued efforts as other systems are brought back online.

Phil Lieberman, a cybersecurity expert mentioned that –

I have never heard of this kind of attack trying to shut down a hospital. This puts lives at risk, and it is sickening to see such an act,he said. Health management systems are beginning to tighten their security.

According to Parham Eftekhari, ICIT co-founder and senior fellow –

As we have seen in the recent attack on Hollywood Presbyterian, hackers are able to completely paralyze an organization until it pays a ransom which may or may not unlock their systems and data,he said earlier this week in an interview with HealthITSecurity.com. The hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars paid in ransom is a small price to pay for an organization when faced with the alternative of losing everything and threat actors know it.

Alertsec strengthens security

Alertsec has created a web based encryption service that radically simplifies deployment and management of PC encryption by using industry leading Check Point Full Disk Encryption (former Pointsec) software.

Organizations, especially corporate giants, have to have an information security policy in place that proves they have taken the necessary steps and measures to safeguard the information they gathered. If these policies are not adhered to, the regulators may prosecute.


Alertsec is used by organizations that have recognized the need to protect their information. Customers range from single-user sole traders and consultants to multinational companies with a large number of offices around the globe. Over 4 million users worldwide use Alertsec’s Check Point Full Disk Encryption.


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