Just How Dangerous is Ransomware?

Guest post by Cody Jaster, digital marketing manager, Netsurion.

Cody Jaster
Cody Jaster

The word “ransomware” has been in the headlines quite a bit this year. The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) has even called 2016 the year of ransomware.

Ransomware is a company’s worst nightmare. This malware infects computers and restricts the users from accessing any of their data until paying the ransom. Imagine a hospital unable to access patients’ data or a financial institution unable to manage their customers’ accounts? What would you do to get that data back? Victims of ransomware have been presented with the following choices: Restore their backups (if they had any and if they do, it takes quite a few days to retrieve it all) or pay the ransom to get the data back. Assuming they get the data back, at that point these businesses have had operations grind to a halt for days, spent money on retrieving this data and most of all, their reputations have taken a hit.

Take action before being the next victim. In addition to having remote-managed network security as your first line of defense against ransomware, here are a few things you can do yourself to protect your business.

Preventative and Proactive

Staff Training and Education

Limit Access

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Why Do Hackers Want Medical Records?

A stolen credit card record can be sold for as low as a quarter while a medical record can be sold for $50. Why is that? When a credit card is stolen, the owner is able to cancel it as soon as he/she notices fraudulent activity and then they are also able to dispute the charges. But think about a medical record – changing your Social Security number, birth date, home address and medical history isn’t that simple, even impossible.

The problem becomes much bigger than just financial identity theft. Think about what would happen to a person whose medical record is stolen and being used to obtain free healthcare and subscriptions. Then think about the customer going in for an emergency with the wrong records on file and getting the wrong blood transfusion.

Protecting patients’ medical records should be every hospital’s and physician’s office’s concern. But with many issues in the healthcare industry vying for attention, security may fall through the cracks.

Keystroke logger malware was recently discovered on Muhlenberg Community Hospital computers in Kentucky—but it could have gone undetected for nearly four years. Potentially compromised data includes patient names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s license/state identification numbers, health plan information, financial account numbers, payment card information and employment information.

Though there’s currently no evidence the information has been used maliciously, it’s just another reminder that medical information is an intriguing target for hackers. Netsurion, a provider of remotely-managed data and network security services for multi-location business, just released this infographic on the value of a medical record. It’s insightful.

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