The network of hospitals at the University of Vermont Medical Center in the United States was hit by Ryuk ransomware in October 2020. More than 5,000 computers were infected in the attack. Now, three months later, university hospitals still suffer the consequences: a cost of approximately $ 1.5 million per day.
Although most of the hospital’s computers and systems (70%) are already working, some applications are still inactive, which creates a delay in the care of patients in several departments, including radiology, informs the hospital’s director-general, Stephen Leffler. According to him, the cost of US $ 1.5 million per day is due to the expenses incurred with the recovery of the systems and the loss of revenue caused by this delay.
According to Infosecurity Magazine, the University of Vermont’s network of hospitals serves much of the state of Vermont, as well as parts of upstate New York. After the ransomware had already infected six hospitals in the network, Vermont Governor Phill Scott called for reinforcements from the US army to help contain the infection and recover from the damage.
“In 2020, our network, like those around the world, faced enormous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only to be further undermined by a ransomware attack”, Said the hospital in a note published last Tuesday (05).
The attack impaired the hospital’s ability to contain the pandemic situation of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), as electronic systems are critical to maintaining the efficient operation and management of a hospital.
“An electronic medical record is one of the most important things we can do to ensure high quality care… It is fortunate that the cyber attack is behind us and we can focus more on dealing with COVID-19 in Vermont and our patients ”, concludes the director.
According to a recent report by US information security developer Fortinet, an organized ransomware attack can compromise entire systems in 30 seconds, but recovering from such an attack takes an average of 16 days. Besides that, the financial consequences of a ransomware infection can be 5 to 10 times greater than the ransom request.
“Ransomware is a leading threat based on the impact it has within an organization, as a ransomware attack can completely shut down a company. Due to the financial success of ransomware, it continues to attract cybercriminals, ”write Fortinet researchers.
At the health sector these consequences go beyond financial loss, delayed operations and data leakage, since many people depend on the hospital and its technology to stay alive.
In September 2020, a 78-year-old woman died in an ambulance at the University Hospital in Düsseldorf, who was unable to care for the patient because she was infected with ransomware. The case became known as the first ransomware death in history.
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