Ransom! (ware) strikes more hospitals and Apple (update)–Healthcare.gov’s plus trouble

click to enlargeGet out the Ransom! California hospitals appear to be Top of the Pops for ransomware attacks, which lock down and encrypt information after someone opens a malicious link in email, making it inaccessible. After the well-publicized attack on Hollywood Presbyterian in February, this week two hospitals in the Inland Empire, Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino and Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville, both owned by Prime Healthcare Management, received demands. While hacked, neither hospital paid the ransom and no patient data was compromised according to hospital spokesmen. Additional hospitals earlier this month: Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Kentucky and Ottawa Hospital in Ontario, Canada. In Ottawa, four computers were hacked but isolated and wiped. It is not known if ‘Locky’, the moniker for a new ransomware, was the Canadian culprit. FBI on the case in the US. HealthcareITNews, National Post

Update: Locky is the suspected culprit in the Prime, Hollywood Presbyterian and Kentucky ransomware attacks. On Monday, Maryland-based MedStar Health reported malware had caused a shutdown of some systems at its hospitals in Baltimore. Separately, Cisco Talos Research is claiming that a number of the attacks are exploiting a vulnerability in a network server called JBoss using a ransomware dubbed SamSam. Perhaps both are creating mischief? Ars Technica, Cisco Talos blog, BBC News, ThreatPost

More and worse attacks north of the 49th Parallel. Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe, Ontario had a ransomware attack this week that spread to computers of staff, patients and families via the external website through the outdated content management system. According to MalwareBytes, “The particular strain of ransomware dropped here is TeslaCrypt which demands $500 to recover your personal files it has encrypted. That payment doubles after a week.”  So if you are running old Joomla! or even old WordPress, update now! Neil Versel in MedCityNews

If you’re thinking Mac Prevents Attacks, the first ransomware targeting Apple OS X hit earlier this month. Mac users who  downloaded version 2.90 of Transmission, a data transfer program using BitTorrent, were infected. KeRanger appears after three days to demand one bitcoin (about $400) to a specific address to retrieve their files. HealthcareITNews

Finally, there is the Hackermania gift that keeps on giving: Healthcare.gov. There have been 316 security incidents, including 41 with PII, on Healthcare.gov since it opened its site in October 2013 to March 2015 per a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report earlier this month. Republican committee leaders in the Senate and House have demanded details from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. The GAO report found weaknesses in technical controls:

  • protecting the data flowing through the data hub
  • insufficiently restricted administrator privileges, inconsistent application of security patches, and insecure configuration of an administrative network
  • sensitive information at risk of unauthorized disclosure, modification or loss
  • incomplete records on who was impacted or if they were notified
  • insufficient monitoring of the state-based marketplaces

HHS concurred with the GAO recommendation that CMS define procedures for overseeing state-run exchanges and continuous monitoring of security controls. HealthcareITNews

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