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Campbell County Health Center Ransomware Attack

Cyber security BCyber todayFebruary 15, 2020

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Wyoming’s Campbell County Health center continues to recover from a September ransomware attack considered to be one of the most serious ransomware incidents in the U.S. It put patients’ lives at risk and halted new admissions, forcing personnel to send patients to other hospitals.

While operations at Campbell County Health have more or less returned to normal, it’s still recovering from financial losses resulting from the attack, reports the Powell (Wyo.) Tribune.

Campbell County Health Falls Victim

The ransomware attack that began in the early morning hours of Sept. 2 affected more than 1,500 computers at Campbell County Memorial Hospital and the Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center. The “serious computer issues” caused by the attack closed the outpatient lab and several other services. Because data was locked up, surgeries had to be canceled and new patients were turned away.

According to Campbell County Health, by Oct. 7, Campbell County Medical Group providers and clinics, as well as testing lab and radiology department, were back up and running. However, respiratory therapy was still unable to accept new patients, and the the sleep center remained closed.

Brett Callow, a spokesman for cybersecurity software developer Emsisoft, told Fox News that “the fact that this incident, and the attacks on other U.S. hospitals did not result in any loss of life was simply a matter of luck.”

Why are Hospitals Being Targeted?

Simply put, hackers are targeting health care facilities because they are more likely to pay the ransom. Since the lives and safety of patients are on the line, hospitals often have little choice. Ransomware not only locks up vital patient data, it literally holds important medical equipment and systems hostage. When doctors and nurses have no access to heart monitors and pacemakers, hospitals often wind up having to pay the attackers.

HealthcareBusinessTech.com notes that a ransomware attack on one hospital can affect other facilities as well. For example, when Heritage Valley Health Systems in Pennsylvania fell victim to a ransomware attack in 2017, several of its satellite clinics were also impacted, forcing surgeons to postpone procedures.

How Did the Campbell County Health Ransomware Attack Happen?

While Campbell County Health did not provide specific details about the attack, cybersecurity experts say that 77 percent of these attacks rely on user interaction. A common method known as spear-phishing involves sending fraudulent emails from what appears to be a known or trusted source. The user is then induced to open the email, which typically contains an executable file that carries out the attack, or tricks the user into revealing information that can be used to gain access to the system.

Researchers have also found that ransomware attacks are increasingly leveraging open and exposed endpoints, such as network computing and report desktop protocols.

Are Ransonware Attacks Preventable?

Dual authentication is a solution recommended by cybersecurity experts and frequently used to protect social media or email accounts. With this method, when a user attempts to log into a system from a remote device, they must obtain a numeric code (usually texted to a cell phone) in addition to a password. This number is generated randomly, so the same code is never used twice.

Join a Free Hospital Ransomware Attack Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

If you were a patient at a hospital or healthcare facility affected by a ransomware attack that impacted your medical care, you may qualify to join a hospital ransomware attack class action lawsuit investigation.

This article is not legal advice. It is presented
for informational purposes only.

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Written by: BCyber

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