Case Study: How One Hospital Survived a Ransomware Attack
The evening of January 11, 2018, Steve Long, president and CEO of Hancock Health and Hancock Regional Hospital, got a call he’s not likely to soon forget.
“Our administrator on call had received a call from the lab. They said there is something wrong with our computers,” says Long. Not long after, the nursing staff began to report that their computers had slowed down. Then a message began to appear on computer screens throughout the hospital:
Your network has been encrypted.
If you would like decryption keys, you have one week to pay us 4 Bitcoin.
Hancock had become a victim of a ransomware attack.
The attack couldn’t have come at a worse time. The region was bracing for a winter storm, which would bring rain, freezing rain, sleet, gusty winds, and one to six inches of snow. Area emergency departments were on diversion because of a high volume of flu cases. With its files locked — and filenames changed to “weapologize” or “SORRY-FOR-FILES” — the hospital was at a standstill.
In our new article, Long shares how he led his organization during the ransomware crisis, and what he recommends others do to make sure they are prepared. “It’s not a question of if it’s going to happen, but when it’s going to happen,” he says.
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