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Adams Memorial Hospital falls victim to ransomware

Some files at Adams Memorial Hospital in Decatur were blocked by a ransom ware program.

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 9:40 PM
Updated: Jan 19, 2018 11:32 AM

DECATUR, Ind. (WFFT) - An area hospital is still assessing damages done after its computer system was hacked.

Some files at Adams Memorial Hospital in Decatur were blocked by a ransomware program.

This isn't the only hospital in Indiana that was targeted this month.

A spokeswoman for Adams Memorial Hospital said they discovered something was wrong last week when an employee began having issues with a file they were working on. It's an issue becoming all too common at hospitals across the country and cyber experts are encouraging people to be careful while online.

"It just goes to show you it can happen at any point and anyone can be a target," says Kyle Johnson, Indiana Tech's Information Security Officer.

According to Johnson, hackers usually start with an email.

"Pay attention to emails that come through. A lot of times it comes in as a phishing email, saying 'click on this link.'"

Adams Memorial Hospital was recently broken into with ransom ware. This means hackers encrypt data and demand a ransom to release those files. Hospital officials haven't released how much the ransom is or if they paid it.

Over the weekend, Hancock Health paid $55,000 after falling victim to a hack on the same day.

"Everything comes down to risk versus reward and what is it going to cost me to bring back my systems versus if I pay," said Johnson.

However, the FBI doesn't recommend paying the ransom because it makes you an easy target for another attack.

"But then again, you're also not guaranteed to get your files back if you do pay. Those are just some things you have to weigh," Johnson added.

Adams Memorial officials say they don't believe patient files were accessed by the hackers, but it's still assessing "the severity of the situation." Business was interrupted throughout the weekend as technicians worked to restore the affected servers.

They were able to provide patient care using a backup system--something that Johnson said everyone should keep updated.

"Whenever Windows releases updates, or Apple releases updates, a lot of times those are packed with security updates as well to patch holes in their systems," he said.

WFFT Local reached out to the Lutheran Health Network and Parkview Health, and they say that they have safeguards in place to protect patient information from hackers.

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