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Cybersecurity / Health tech

MedStar Health hackers demand ransom in bitcoin

Hackers are asking for about $18,500, the Sun reports.

Union Memorial Hospital. (Courtesy photo)

Hackers unleashed malware this week that encrypted data throughout the Maryland-based health system that runs Union Memorial Hospital.
The MedStar Health data is now frozen, and the hackers want a ransom to free it up again. The Baltimore Sun reported the details of the request on Wednesday:

The deal proposed by the hackers is this: Send 3 bitcoins — $1,250 at current exchange rates — for the digital key to unlock a single infected computer, or 45 bitcoins — about $18,500 — for keys to all of them.

An image sent to Washington Post reporters said a message that appeared on employees’ screens gave the hospital 10 days to comply.
The health system released a statement saying the attack created “many inconveniences and operational challenges,” but that it was moving toward restoration.
Ars Technica’s (Baltimore-based) Sean Gallagher reports that the type of malware in question, known as Samsam, uses gaps in the JBoss application server. And some varieties could get worse than the data just locking up:

Some security researchers have speculated that these could be used as part of a self-spreading “worm” malware that scans for exploitable servers and then works its way into the networks attached to them.

That doesn’t sound good.

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