Ransomware attacks against large and small healthcare providers are sweeping the nation. It is essential that healthcare administrators have a secure plan in the event of ransomware to ensure the attack is not successful.

“More than a third of healthcare organizations were hit by a ransomware attack in 2020 and of those, 65% said the cyber-criminals were successful in encrypting their data, a report from cyber-security company Sophos found.” (Healthcare Dive).

Ransomware is a form of cyber-crime where hackers encrypt information, and even sometimes entire devices, to collect a ransom for the decryption of said information or device. According to Sophos, the ransomware attacks had substantially impacted the healthcare providers affected. “The report found ransomware was relatively prevalent in the healthcare sector, with 34% of organizations hit by such an attack in the past year. Of those not hit, 41% said they expected an attack in the future, while just 24% said they felt safe from future attacks.” (Healthcare Dive).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning about a specific ransomware group Hive after it attacked and shut down the networks of Memorial Health System. (CyWare). “Memorial Health System Emergency Departments faced disruption in IT operations, allowing admission to patients only suffering from strokes and trauma incidents.” (CyWare). “In addition, due to the ransomware attack, the staff at three hospitals (Marietta Memorial, Selby, and Sistersville General Hospital) were forced to use paper while their systems were being restored.”

According to Sophos, the healthcare industry is the most likely to suffer extreme damage after a cyberattack if one takes place. “Healthcare organizations are among the most likely to pay a ransom to recover their data, likely worried about continuity of care for their patients and a lack of back-ups. Some 34% of respondents 129 whose data was encrypted said they paid to get it back, compared to a cross-sector average of 32%.”(Healthcare Dive). “However, paying a ransom is no certainty that data will be recovered — one reason why giving into demands for ransom is highly discouraged by the federal government and cyber-security experts.”

Responsive Technology Partners, along with the FBI, recommend checking your systems for weak spots before a cyber-attack ever occurs to ensure that damage to your network is minimal. “The FBI’s warning about the Hive ransomware group recommends backing up critical data offline and in the cloud. It urges organizations to use 2FA and strong passwords, including for remote access services, wherever possible. Furthermore, a response plan in the event of ransomware attacks should be kept handy.” (CyWare).

Have any questions about cyber-security? Responsive Technology Partners is the leading cyber-security
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Pifer, Rebecca, and Rebecca Pifer. “More than 1/3 of Health Organizations Hit by Ransomware Last Year,
Report Finds.” Healthcare Dive, 24 June 2021, www.healthcaredive.com/news/more-than-13-ofhealth-organizations-hit-by-ransomware-last-year-report-f/602329.
Cyware. “FBI Alert: Hive Ransomware Is Actively Targeting Healthcare.” Cyware Labs, 31 Aug. 2021,