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Ransomware attack hits over a hundred Romanian healthcare facilities

February 2024 by Matt Aldridge, Principal Solutions Consultant at OpenText Security Solutions

After the story that broke earlier this week concerning a ransomware attack that hit over a hundred Romanian healthcare facilities, including dozens of hospitals.

The attackers have demanded 3.5 bitcoin, worth over £130,000 to unlock the files. But cyber officials have claimed the data had been recently backed up, reducing the impact - and possibly meaning that the facilities should be able to bounce back fairly rapidly.

Matt Aldridge, Principal Solutions Consultant at OpenText Cybersecurity has commented on the news. Discussing the prevalence of ransomware attacks on healthcare facilities and the importance of implementing strong cyber resilience strategies to mitigate their impact. He emphasises the necessity of securely backing up data, adopting cybersecurity technologies, providing security awareness training to staff, and implementing a multi-layered defense approach.

"This latest ransomware attack is sadly unsurprising, given healthcare is a common target for cybercriminals. As medical facilities’ services are essential and often cannot be disrupted without severe risk to patients, the industry is very much in the spotlight and therefore must put in place strong cyber resilience strategies to limit outages and keep continuity of patients care at the forefront is key. The fact that in this instance the data has been recently backed up shows that those protecting these facilities have correct procedures in place to reduce the severity of these attacks. All organisations should securely back up their data, so systems can be quickly restored - which in healthcare is a definite necessity.

Other best practices include implementing cybersecurity technology such as email filtering, anti-virus protection, and sensible password policies. Aso, security awareness training should be implemented for staff from day one, ensuring they are vigilant in scrutinising the types of emails, messages and phone calls they receive."

"It is also incredibly important to adopt a multi-layered approach when it comes to a defence strategy. In fact, we found in our 2023 OpenText Cybersecurity Threat Report that doing so is core to cybersecurity and cyber resilience. Ultimately, the more processes, tools, and systems an organisation has in place to protect and recover data , the less likely an attack will succeed. Multi-layered cybersecurity controls must be deployed to help detect or block anything that breaches the first line of defence – the people of the healthcare facilities.”

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