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Kansas Heart Hospital Hit With Ransomware; Hackers Do Not Unlock Files After Receiving Ransom Payment

May 23, 2016
by Heather Landi
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Wichita, Kan.-based Kansas Heart Hospital was hit with a ransomware attack last Wednesday, but after the hospital paid an undisclosed ransom, the hackers demanded more, according to local news reports.

Local television news station KWCH reported last Friday that Kansas Heart Hospital president Greg Duick, M.D., acknowledged that the hospital was the victim of a cyber attack.

The KWCH report states quotes Duick as stating, “Kansas Heart Hospital had a cyber attack occur late Wednesday evening. We suspect, as attacks other parts of the country, this was an offshore operation.”

According to the report, hackers got access to the system and locked up the files, refusing to give back access unless the hospital paid a ransom.

The news report, written by Deedee Sun, quotes Duick as stating, “I'm not at liberty because it's an ongoing investigation, to say the actual exact amount. A small amount was made.”

However, after the hospital paid a ransom, the hacker did not return full access to the files, according to the news report. Instead, they demanded another ransom. “The hospital says it will not pay again,” the article stated.

"The policy of the Kansas Heart Hospital in conjunction with our consultants, felt no longer was this a wise maneuver or strategy," Duick stated, according to the article.

As previously reported in Healthcare Informatics, FBI has officially stated that it does not recommend paying a ransom in a ransomware attack.

“Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee an organization that it will get its data back—we’ve seen cases where organizations never got a decryption key after having paid the ransom. Paying a ransom not only emboldens current cyber criminals to target more organizations, it also offers an incentive for other criminals to get involved in this type of illegal activity. And finally, by paying a ransom, an organization might inadvertently be funding other illicit activity associated with criminals,” FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor stated in a FBI blog post.

The article further states that the hospital had a cybersecurity plan in place, which went into effect.

"That plan went into immediate action. I think it helped in minimizing the amount of damage the encrypted agent could do," Duick was quoted as saying. “

He also said that patient information was not jeopardized and the attack did not impact patient treatment.

The hospital is working with security experts and its IT team to restore the rest of the system.

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