Ransomware skyrocketed in 2016, with the FBI reporting an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks per day — a 300-percent increase since 2015. This has been especially bad news for healthcare organizations, which have been hit hard by this type of cyberattack that works quickly to encrypt files and then holds them hostage until a ransom is paid.
In February, one of the first widely reported hospital ransomware attacks targeted Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California, forcing the hospital to pay roughly $17,000 in ransom and resort to pen-and-paper record keeping until their files could be restored. Since then, numerous hospitals and healthcare organizations around the country have faced similar attacks. For example, MedStar Health, which operates 10 facilities in the Baltimore-Washington region, was hit with ransomware, but it was able to recover without paying the ransom because it had backups in place for the encrypted information.