Community health center pays hackers $70,000 in bitcoin after second ransomware attack in three months

August 9, 2019
Medicare Web

Park DuValle Community Health Center, a nonprofit clinic in Louisville, Kentucky, paid hackers nearly $70,000 in bitcoin to unlock medical records for approximately 20,000 patients following a ransomware attack on June 7, according to a report from WDRB News.

Park DuValle CEO Elizabeth Ann Hagan-Grigsby told WDRB in an interview that hackers did not obtain patient information, but the attacks forced all four of the community health center’s clinics to temporarily switch to paper record-keeping. None of the clinics were able to make appointments or access patient information such as medical records, contact information, or insurance information before paying the hackers in July for encryption keys to unlock the computer systems and restore the data.  

Park DuValle previously suffered a ransomware attack on April 2 that caused it to lose access to records for three weeks. The health center was able to avoid paying the ransom that time by rebuilding its record system using data that was either backed up or stored elsewhere. But when the computer systems were hacked again in June, the internal rebuild was no longer an option. Park DuValle decided to pay the ransom in July after consulting with the FBI and IT specialists.

Hagan-Grigsby told WDRB that between the ransom payment, the cost of outside IT support, and the organization’s inability to submit claims since June 7, Park DuValle likely lost more than $1 million due to the ransomware attack. 

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