An anonymous reader shares a report: When Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services in Gallup, New Mexico, was hit with a cyberattack earlier this year, the hospital’s staff had to revert to pen and paper to keep things running. Publicly available details about the hack are scarce, and the hospital has declined to comment beyond confirming that the security breach briefly forced its staff off its computers. But sensitive employee files posted online by a hacker group known for ransomware attacks and seen by NBC News indicated just how deep an attack the hospital had suffered: files on everything from job applications and background checks to staff injury reports.
Ransomware attacks, in which hackers gain access to a private system to hold it hostage for payment, have been a problem for businesses for more than three years. Some hospitals have poor cybersecurity, and unscrupulous gangs see them as potentially flush with cash and easily coerced with the threat of leaked patient data. Last year, at least 560 health care facilities were infected with ransomware, according to a survey from the cybersecurity company Emsisoft. In October, amid a particularly brutal wave of attacks, several federal agencies issued warnings of “an increased and imminent cybercrime threat” to hospitals. An advisory from the American Hospital Association laid out how the Covid-19 pandemic had encouraged cybercriminals “to exploit, victimize and profit” from ransomware attacks.