Kentucky Methodist Hospital Hit by Bitcoin Ransomware Virus

A hospital in Kentucky has become the latest victim of a bitcoin ransomware infection. The Methodist Hospital located in the city of Henderson, declared a state of emergency last week, when the virus began spreading within the hospital’s computer systems. IT staff at the hospital were forced to shut down the entire network and began to scan each computer individually for infection.

According to Jamie Reid, Director of Information Systems at Methodist Hospital, a strain of ransomware called “Locky” was responsible for causing all the havoc. Locky works by encrypting every file it finds, and then demands that the owner of the files make a bitcoin payment to a specified address. In the case of Methodist Hospital, the ransom demanded was only 4 BTC, a substantially smaller demand than the 40 BTC Hollywood Presbyterian had to shell out in February of this year.

An attorney for the Kentucky hospital compared the incident to a tornado emergency, which requires a complete shutdown of the hospital’s IT infrastructure, “We have a pretty robust emergency response system that we developed quite a few years ago, and it struck us that as everyone’s talking about the computer problem at the hospital maybe we ought to just treat this like a tornado hit, because we essentially shut our system down and reopened on a computer-by-computer basis,” said David Park, attorney at Methodist Hospital.

Park said that Methodist Hospital staff have not made a decision on whether or not to pay the ransom yet, but the matter is being discussed with the FBI.

Since the hospital’s computer systems were out, staff were forced to do everything manually. Park also mentioned that no patient records have been stolen or compromised, “But we don’t feel like it negatively impacted patient care. They didn’t get any patient information” said Park.

According to an article by KrebsonSecurity, the infection at Methodist Hospital came in via email, which contained a fake invoice file that was loaded with the ransomware virus.

 

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