As reported by Tuscaloosa News, the three hospitals in Alabama recently hit with ransomware failed in their security and their response to the incident. While we don’t know about the surrounding circumstances, the hospitals did receive a decryption key to recover their data – a decryption key they likely received by paying the attacker’s ransom. Based off what we know, these hospitals failed to secure their network from spreading the malware, failed to keep a backup, and didn’t follow recommendations from the FBI and security professionals to not pay the ransom. Perhaps it is a little harsh to criticize them, but after years of ransomware attacks and education on how to prevent or at least mitigate them, it surprises me that such a large organization can still fall victim to this and not have a recovery plan in place, one where they didn’t have to pay the ransom. We understand a small company might fall victim and be unable to recover but these hospitals are parts of DCH health system that employs 3,446 people and had 77,043 emergency room visits last year.
Ransomware continues to affect businesses every day and we understand not all ransomware can be prevented. Since some attacks can bypass even the best defenses, all businesses should have regular backups that don’t overwrite previous backups, to recover data from in the case of a loss. And most importantly, test those backups regularly so you know they’ll work when the time comes.