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Around $70,000 ransom paid by Park DuValle Community Health Center for unlocking the patient data

 

Park DuValle Community Health Center based in Louisville, Kentucky, recently paid the hackers a ransom amount of around $70,000 for unlocking medical records of around 20,000 patients, after ransomware attack has locked providers out of their system for nearly two months, as per WDRB - local news outlet.

 

The non-profitable health center, providing medical services for the low-income patients as well as the uninsured, becomes victim of a ransomware attack on Jun. 7, 2019. This ransomware attack impacted the health center's medical records system as well as appointment scheduling platform.

 

The health center's employees have been recording the patient information on paper and pen, and also have to rely on the patients' memories about past treatments as well as medications for seven weeks. With the systems of health center being out of action, patient data could not be viewed, and no appointments could be scheduled. So, the clinic operates on walk-in basis.

 

"This is everything. This is medical records, contact information, insurance information, anything about a patient...everything is gone," said Elizabeth Ann Hagan-Grigsby, CEO of Park DuValle, reported WDRB.com. "The records involved are for past and present patients," she added.

 

Park DuValle's medical record system contain records of about 20,000 former and current patients who had earlier received treatment in either Louisville, Newburg, Russell, or Taylorsville medical center.

 

This is not for the first-time that Park DuValle suffered from a ransomware attack this year. The previous attack that occurred on Apr. 2, 2019, locked down the computers for around three weeks. In that case, the organization was successful in rebuilding their record systems using their backup data that was stored elsewhere. So, the health center recovers the data without paying the ransom at that time.

 

However, the officials of Park DuValle have contacted the FBI as well as third-party IT specialists after this second ransomware attack, and the decision to pay ransom for keys to decrypt the files was taken. Hagan-Grigsby said to the reporters of WDRB that it was impossible to rebuild their systems and recover the data from the backups after this latest cyber attack.

 

The ransom amount was paid in the form of 6 bitcoins (i.e. around $70,000) in two installments. The hackers then provided the encryption keys, which Park DuValle is using for restoring the data.

 

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