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Ransomware attacks to Healthcare during the 2022 Holidays 

Ransomware attacks to Healthcare during the 2022 Holidays

By Sean Lyngaas, CNN

Hackers accessed the personal data of nearly 270,000 patients in an attempted ransomware attack on a Louisiana health care system in October, a spokesperson for the system told CNN Wednesday.

Lake Charles Memorial Health System, which includes a 314-bed hospital, thwarted the hackers’ attempt to encrypt its computers and prevented any disruption to patient care, according to spokesperson Allison Livingston. The health care provider’s own security team detected the hack, Livingston said in an email.

The hack was disclosed in recent days as the network of hospitals notifies patients whose data was compromised. That includes patients’ health insurance information, medical records numbers and, in “limited instances,” Social Security numbers, according to the health system.

It’s the latest in a series of ransomware attacks that have continued to hit US health care providers, which are often short on cybersecurity resources, in the nearly three years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On their dark website for extorting victims, a ransomware gang known as Hive took responsibility for hacking Lake Charles Memorial and dumped data purporting to belong to the health system.

As of November, Hive ransomware had been used to extort about $100 million from over 1,300 companies worldwide – many of them in health care – the FBI and other federal agencies have warned.

“Healthcare continues to be an attractive for ransomware groups because even if a ransom isn’t paid, these attacks attract a lot of attention for the ransomware group, increasing their notoriety,” Allan Liska, senior threat intelligence at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, told CNN.

Ransomware gangs such as Hive increasingly steal data from victim organizations before locking down computers in an attempt to increase their leverage in ransom negotiations. Some ransomware operators have “exploited stolen data to reach out to patients directly to demand payment under threat of having their patient records released,” Liska said.

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