WannaCry Ransomware Holds Critical Data Hostage Worldwide, Including UK’s National Health Service and Russia’s Interior Ministry

Attack on computer systems worldwide highlights critical importance for hospitals and medical laboratories to regularly update IT infrastructure and software

While Internet connectivity and automation are changing the landscape of both healthcare and diagnostic testing facilities, it is also creating new ways for things to go catastrophically wrong. The WannaCry ransomware attack on May 12th highlights the critical need for hospitals, medical practices, pathology groups, and clinical laboratories to constantly update the software and systems powering much of their healthcare continuum.

After infection, the ransomware encrypts 179 different file types on the system it’s attacking. It then demands payment in bitcoins to remove the encryption and restore access to files. Clinical laboratories should be wary of any suspicious e-mail attachments and apply security updates to vulnerable systems as soon as possible. (more…)