MedStar Health, which operates 10 hospitals in Maryland and Washington, D.C., has become the latest hospital system victimized by a cyber-attack on its medical records system.
On Tuesday, March 29, it was reported in the Washington Post that the system was “crippled” by a virus and was forced to shut down its records system on Monday. The newspaper also reported that the attack was causing delays in treatment and diversion of patients. Information that was not confirmed by the hospital system indicated that the attackers were holding the system’s records hostage, demanding 45 bitcoins (approximately $19,000) to release the data. The FBI said it was investigating whether the unknown hackers demanded a ransom to restore systems. The hospital system stated that it had acted quickly to contain the virus and had found no evidence that information had been stolen by the attackers.
Unfortunately, this is at least the third such attack on hospital systems in recent months, following the attacks on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California and Methodist Hospital in Kentucky.