Just one month after a Los Angeles hospital paid hackers $17,000 in ransom to get access to its own computer system, another major hospital was attacked. The hackers used a nasty ransomware called Locky that we've been telling you about.
It uses encryption to lock your computer so you can't access anything on it. The attackers demand ransom to be paid in bitcoins, an untraceable digital currency, and require you to make the transaction over the secure Web browser Tor.
In this case, the 217-bed critical care facility Methodist Hospital in Kentucky issued a "state of emergency due to a computer virus that has limited our use of electronic Web-based services." A hospital spokesperson confirmed that the Locky ransomware was behind the attack.
That's the same ransomware used in the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital attack mentioned above. That hospital's important documents were inaccessible for 10 days, until the hospital paid up. Locky is related to the Dridex Trojan used by cybercriminals about a year ago to steal $30 million from banks.
The Locky attack on Kentucky's Methodist Hospital began with an employee falling victim to a phishing scam. The person received an email from an unknown source and opened an attachment in the body of the email.
Good news. The Methodist Hospital attack ended after four days, without the hospital paying ransom. The attackers were demanding the equivalent of $1,600 in bitcoin.
The bad news is, this type of ransomware attack has recently surged 800%, according to some cybersecurity experts. It'll happen again.
Note: Don't be the next victim of a ransomware attack. It's critical that you have a strong Internet security system on all your devices.