Ransomware attack once again destructs healthcare.

2 individual ransomware attacks were identified on Friday, December 13, 2019, that hit New Jersey’s largest hospital system. Reports state the attack rendered 2 providers offline for several days.

Hackensack Meridian Health paid a huge amount toward ransom to bring the system back online. They did not mention the actual amount paid as ransom but said it has insurance coverage to be able to deal with such emergencies.  On the other hand, Oahu Cancer Center in Hawaii is still carrying out research to get to the roots of the cyberattack.

Ramifications of the attack

The attack resulted in rescheduled non-emergency surgeries, and the medical staff, including doctors and nurses, had instructions to provide care without any access to electronic records.

For Hackensack Meridian, the IT team proactively identified the malware and got in touch with law enforcement regulators. They did not disclose the news until Monday, December 16, 2019, as advised by experts. Initially, the attack was communicated as a technical issue to avoid interruption during investigation.

Officials said that the hospital’s primary clinical systems have resumed, and the IT specialists and experts are working on getting all applications up and running.

Based on the number of ransomware attacks on the healthcare sector in the recent past, the Office for Civil Rights warns the sector of highly targeted attacks and methods to improve protection for their systems.

As per a recent analysis by Emsisoft, 759 plus providers bore the brunt of ransomware attacks in 2019. Researches also mention that recent attacks also managed to shut local governments and have transformed threats to a crisis, with a forecast of costs to reach a mind-boggling amount worth $7.5 billion across all the US sectors.