USC’s Keck Medical Center Reports Ransomware Attack | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

USC’s Keck Medical Center Reports Ransomware Attack

September 26, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The Los Angeles-based Keck Medical Center, part of the University of Southern California, has confirmed that two if its servers were hit with ransomware last month, leading to encrypted files that employees could not access.

According to a statement from the organization released last week, “The attack was quickly contained and isolated to prevent the spreading of malware to other servers.” Data from the encrypted servers was fully restored within several days and no ransom was paid, according to the organization. Officials stated that there is no evidence that data was retrieved or accessed as a result of this ransomware.

“Typically, ransomware is used to deny users access to their information in order to quickly extract money from the data owners—not to steal data. However, as a precaution, we are providing this notice to patients or other individuals whose health or other personal information was in the encrypted folders.”

What’s more, the infected servers do not store Keck's electronic medical record (EMR). Instead, many of the encrypted folders are departmental files that contain internal operational documents such as templates, training manuals, and human resource materials. Sensitive data did however include demographic information, date of birth, identifiable health information, including treatment and diagnosis for some patients, and in some cases, social security numbers.

Regarding the ransomware crisis that is continuing to plague healthcare and other industries, the issue of paying the ransom or not has been a hot one. Recently, the Tulsa, Okla.-based Saint Francis Health System decided not to act on a ransom demand when it was victimized by a breach earlier this month in which approximately 6,000 names and addresses were compromised.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Study will Leverage Connecticut HIE to Help Prevent Suicides

A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.

Duke Health First to Achieve HIMSS Stage 7 Rating in Analytics

North Carolina-based Duke Health has become the first U.S. healthcare institution to be awarded the highest honor for analytic capabilities by HIMSS Analytics.

NIH Releases First Dataset from Adolescent Brain Development Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the first dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which will enable scientists to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.