Canadian Hospital Effectively Responds to Ransomware Attack

The Ottawa Hospital was able to restore its computers after wiping their hard drives.

A hospital in Ottawa was able to clear a virus from its computer system after being the victim of a ransomware attack recently.

The Ottawa Hospital discovered that four of its computers were infected with the virus sometime last week and were unable to access the computers due to a new encryption. Rather than pay the ransom, however, hospital officials were able to wipe the infection from the computers and restore any lost data through backup copies, according to ottawacitizen.com.

RELATED: Report: 2016 ‘Year Ransomware Holds America Hostage’

Ransomware, a type of malware where hackers ask for money to restore the infected system, has become more prevalent in recent months, particularly in the healthcare industry. Campus Safety previously reported on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center’s ordeal with ransomware in February, which ended when the hospital paid the hacker $16,664.

In the same week as that incident, a German hospital became the victim of what is presumed to be ransomware. Rather than communicating with the hacker, however, authorities pulled the plug on the hospital’s entire computer system and are working to fully restore the network, which should take months.

The Ottawa Hospital’s response may have been possible because of the small scale of the attack. Although administrators refused to say what kind of data was on the computers that were infected, only four of the nearly 10,000 machines on the network were shut down, making it easier to erase and restore information.

Administrators also refused to give any information on the type of virus used in the attack, although they said no patient information was accessed.

Ransomware typically comes in the form of spam email, which is why it’s important that employees understand the basics of cyber security and know not to click on any unknown links.

Up Next: Cybersecurity Report Finds ‘Healthcare Industry in Turmoil’

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