In Dusseldorf, a ransomware attack that felled a hospital’s servers led to the untimely death of a human being. The attack perpetrators are now under investigation for manslaughter.

The details of this cyber attack:

On Thursday, September 17th, at the Dusseldorf hospital -which is affiliated with the Heinrich Heine University- 30 servers were encrypted. However, the perpetrators wanted to target the university, not the hospital.

When authorities communicated to the hackers that lives were in danger, the attackers withdrew their extortion demands and provided a digital ransomware decryption key.

In the interim, on account of the cyber disruptions, an ambulance carrying a person in need of emergency services was re-routed to a hospital 20-miles away. This led to a significant delay in treatment, and the individual did not survive.

The ransomware epidemic:

Healthcare organizations are on the front lines when it comes to battling the coronavirus, and cyber attacks present another, equally daunting, challenge. In Europe, Interpol has issued a Purple Alert, warning officials and healthcare professionals of a heightened ransomware threat. And last year, 764 US healthcare providers found themselves ensnared by ransomware.

The global impact of ransomware is forcing hospital IT teams to rethink their security ecosystems. Prevention can be a life-saver.

Prevent ransomware from ruining your systems by:

  • Investing in comprehensive cyber security software
  • Securing email platforms
  • Backing up all critical systems on computers or a cloud that operates independently from your system.

For more on how ransomware attacks happen in healthcare, visit HealthITSecurity.