A hospital in Los Angeles has become the victim of a cyberattack, with its records held to ransom.
The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had its computer systems attacked by ransomware and a $3.6m (£2.5m) ransom has been demanded. The healthcare industry is suffering from a lack of clear standards on data security, which makes it a prime target for an attack.
The cyberattack means that staff at the hospital are now communicating in the old-fashioned way − using faxes, collecting test results in person, and using paper charts to record patient data.
Tina Bordas, a union representative for the nurses at the hospital, said that while some prefer to work in the old-fashioned way, the processes have slowed things down a little. The hospital is keen to stress that patient care has not been compromised.
The attack is being investigated by the FBI, with industry experts suggesting that the lack of standards in healthcare data security is a problem. Hospitals have become targets for cyberattacks as a result of the wide variety of data they hold. Personal data for patients and confidential medical information are attractive targets, with hospitals in the US also holding patients’ credit card and other payment details.
Experian predicted in 2015 that there would be an increase in the number of data breaches in the healthcare industry, partly because the industry is becoming more digitised and partly because there is strong potential for economic gain on the part of the hackers.