KANSAS CITY, MO – Liberty Hospital in Missouri fell victim to a grim cyber assault Tuesday when a menacing blackmail message from a hacker resulted in a disruption of its computer systems. A message from an anonymous source targeting the hospital warned, “We have hacked you and downloaded all confidential data of your company. Your reputation will be ruined. Save your business. Contact us within 72 hours.” This message itself was uncovered exclusively by KMBC-TV, an ABC affiliated television station in Kansas City, Missouri.
The blackmail – or ransomware – has disrupted operations, causing confusion and inconvenience among patients. For instance, one patient arrived at the hospital for an appointment only to be informed that the hospital’s electronics were malfunctioning and he would need to reschedule.
The blackmail letter, received on Tuesday, seemed to coincide with the crash of the hospital’s computer systems, according to reports. The hospital was compelled to redirect some patients to other locations. Specifically, anyone requiring emergency care was advised to seek help elsewhere, illustrating the severe impact this cybercrime inflicted.
In an attempt to manage the situation, some primary and specialty care patients were seen on Wednesday, while appointments for other patients needed to be rescheduled. The lack of any prior notification by the hospital, however, stoked frustration among many.
A statement from Liberty Hospital’s Spokeswoman Michelle Manuel neither confirmed nor denied receiving the blackmail notice. She declared, “We are actively investigating the source of the disruption and will provide additional information as soon as we are able”.
In light of the circumstances, management at Liberty Hospital admits that restoring the computer systems safely online is a lengthy process. However, they offer reassurances of working diligently to ensure this happens sooner rather than later.
This incident serves as a reminder that cybercrime poses a significant challenge in our “digital everything” era and emphasizes the need for safe cybersecurity measures in sensitive sectors, especially healthcare.
Ransomware attacks are unfortunately quite common, occurring multiple times per second on a global scale. Here’s a breakdown of the frequency:
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®