Electronic Medical Records Held for Ransom


The Surgeons of Lake County, a medical practice in Libertyville, IL, announced last month that its computer network had been hacked and data had been encrypted pending payment of a ransom. The hackers targeted the practice’s computer systems, encrypting all data, including patients’ electronic medical records, and demanded payment for the decryption password. Refusing to succumb to the ransom demands, the small medical practice chose to shut down its server and notify authorities instead.

According to Bloomberg’s “Tech Blog,” it remains unclear whether the Surgeons of Lake County had backups of the encrypted data or if any of it has been successfully recovered. The practice has declined to comment further on the situation. This incident highlights a growing trend in cybercrime, where healthcare institutions are increasingly targeted for their valuable data. In fact, there have been numerous similar cases in the past, including incidents where patients’ Social Security numbers and prescription records were intercepted, and hospitals were blackmailed by outsourced transcription employees.

The rise in such data breaches underscores the critical importance of robust cybersecurity measures for healthcare practices and organizations. Firewalls, backup solutions, and server failover solutions are no longer optional but essential components of a comprehensive IT security strategy. These measures help protect sensitive patient information and ensure business continuity in the event of an attack.

For healthcare practices looking to bolster their cybersecurity defenses and safeguard their data, Microwize Technology offers a range of managed IT services. Contact a Microwize Technology healthcare IT consultant today to learn how to protect your practice from cyber threats and ensure the security and integrity of your electronic medical records.