Articles about the weakness in medical devices that may gamble on the probable impact to patient safety have been in print widely. Ransomware, a malware locked access to certain computer systems by encrypting files, preventing the staff from sharing communications electronically can infect any computer, at any time. It is known as well that even the best antivirus software in the world cannot halt against users clicking web site links or opening questionable e-mail attachments. This phenomenon is astonishingly destructive especially to the caregivers in hospitals may be required back to paper-based workflows. Therefore it is pointless trying to lay blame; the main thing now is to deal with the situation.

Why Ransomware?

As a gradually more popular and untraceable way to get money, ransomware generates millions of dollars per year for cyber criminals. Though we know that agreeing to the demands of the lawbreakers is surely a bad resolution, Leaders need to make decision that would take the organization far to being crippled. However, there is a quickest recovery so long as there is large amount of money involved. This would bring the victims to just wait and assume that the criminals will generously provide the encryption key for the recovery. This might as well most of the healthcare executives would do even taking the risks of doing everything to rescue your data by providing the demands of the criminals for the promise of the recovery has no assertion.

Potential Impact of Ransomware

What are the potential impacts to hospitals from ransomware attacks? Time- Life-threatening is the word that would best describe hospitals. If devices used in emergency and operating rooms would stop functioning, any delays of information may cost death.
What impact could going back to paper charts have on human life and safety? Commonly, several will say that going back to paper processes is just a piece of cake; however they might want to think as well if that would be likely in 2016, Where most of physicians and nurses were trained on electronic medical record systems.

Let’s go through the possibilities of difficulties if PCs were not functional , rendering no access to the electronic medical record system.

  • Patient medical history inaccessible.
    Investigating the patient’s medical history or Family members. If there’s language barrier, or the patient is unconscious, that can cause significant delays in treatment.
  • Patient medication history unavailable.
    In checking the maintenance medication of the patient or the treatment that had been administered in the last 24-48 hours. If they provided a wrong prescription, there could be a serious risk for the patient.
  • Lab orders delayed.
    Most of the medications are now ordered via phone or internet, where problems like delays are checked.
  • Lab results stalled. Lab orders are typically transmitted electronically.If that communication link is broken, what could be the risks?
  • Prescriptions postponed because they cannot be ordered electronically.
  • Medical devices inoperable. Some medical devices rely on PCs to manage the device. If that PC becomes inoperable, critical MRI or interpretation of radiologic data may not happen.
  • Monitoring PCs impacted. Medical devices that feed data to a central nursing station may no longer be able to because the monitoring station isn’t functional. The hospital may not have adequate staff to physically visit all rooms to monitor the patients.
  • Potential public relations controversy. Imagine a family coming to the hospital to visit a family member after a major surgery and the hospital cannot tell the family what room they are in because the staff at the desk can no longer access the application that tracks location of patients. What if that patient passes before the family can see them?

How to prevent Ransomware?
It is important to put strong technologies in place to prevent and detect threats. We must work to upgrade our Email security, web security and end point security technologies to prevent infections, because technology nowadays are not that well protected.

Ransomware is typically spread via infected email attachments or links. So it is significant to educate our staff to distinguish types of threats and stop the impulse to click unsecured links or launch a questionable files. Repetition of security education is key.

Security Departments, Staff, and most especially IT Staffs must be well trained in prevention, detection and incident response and making sure that everyone, if possible, are highly trained to respond to threats.

One of the easiest ways to prevent the impact of Ransomware is have a proper backup solution in place and tested to mitigate the risk of Ransomware. 825 Technologies can help! Contact us today for a free evaluation.