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California Hospitals Hacked and Ransom Demanded

Just recently, two Southern California hospitals were attacked by hackers who infiltrated their computer systems with ransomware and demanded payment to unlock the data.  According to the report, Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino and Desert Valley Hospital of Victorville, both part of Prime Healthcare Service, Inc., had their computer system compromised by a cyber-attack.

Once the hackers got into one of the hospital's computers, a malware program that encrypts data on computers was spread.  Then, the hackers demanded a ransom to unlock the servers.   According to Fred Ortega, a spokesman for Prime Healthcare, "nothing was paid and no patient or employee data was compromised." He also said technology specialists were able to limit the attack.

Cyberattacks and breaches becoming more common

During a recent presentation, Jocelyn Samuels Director, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) said hacking can happen, and hacking is an increasing reason for breaches.   In fact, this is one of the reasons why OCR is stepping up their efforts to provide guidance; and when necessary, enforcement actions, for those who should have known better and still ignored the requirement to properly safeguard protected health information (PHI) in all forms.  As Jocelyn Samuels put it, you are not expected to be perfect, but are expected to be compliance with HIPAA Security Rule requirements.

How we can help

We are dedicating the month of April to discussing breaches, hacking, breach notification requirements, and reasonable safeguards.  We will be hosting a Webinar April 7th, 2016 and publishing articles and providing answers to questions regarding breaches and hacking.  Finally, we will provide you with best practices and reasonable safeguards to ensure you are not a victim of hacking; or at the very least, in the event of a breach you are able to limit the impact.   

If you have any questions please contact one of our professional consultants by email [email protected], or reach us by phone toll-free at 855-427-0427.

 

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