Cyber criminals are demanding a ransom from two more Southern California hospitals as federal authorities are investigating.
Prime Healthcare Services Inc., a national hospital chain, said the attackers infiltrated their servers on at two of its California hospitals, Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino and Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville.
The company said the cyber-attack had so far not impacted patient safety nor compromised staff or patient records.
Two sources familiar with the investigation said the criminals had demanded a ransom to unlock the hospital computer systems, echoing what happened last month at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles. Hollywood Presbyterian said it paid $17,000 ransom to regain access to the hospital’s computer systems.
Fred Ortega, a spokesman for Prime Healthcare, has declined to comment on whether Prime received a ransom demand or paid any money, citing the ongoing investigation. He instead issued a statement:
“This is similar to challenges hospitals across the country are facing, and we have taken extraordinary steps to protect and expeditiously find a resolution to this disruption. The concern now is to let law enforcement do their thing and find the culprit.”
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said “we are investigating a compromise of the network at these locations.” However, she declined to discuss specifics at this time. The FBI still has an ongoing investigation into the attack at Hollywood Presbyterian.
Ortega said both affected hospitals are currently operational and measures are being taken to restore the affected systems to full functionality. He said some systems were shut down as a preventive measure so that the malware wouldn’t spread and infect other systems.
The company said that it’s working with data security experts and the California Department of Public Health.
A series of high-profile data breaches in the past year have raised fresh questions about the ability of hospitals, health insurers and other medical providers to safeguard the health information and identities of millions of Americans.
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