Caro hospital falls victim to ransomware attack - WNEM TV 5

Caro hospital falls victim to ransomware attack

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
CARO, MI (WNEM) -

The Caro Community Hospital fell victim to a ransomware attack earlier this month.

It happened on July 5 and affected the Caro Community Hospital, Caro Medical Clinic and the Caro Quick Care.

Ransomware is when attackers gain access of technology and encrypt the data for ransom with an encryption code. The code would allow the data to be un-encrypted.

The ransomware prevented access to important patient data and disables phone and email services.

CEO of the hospital said almost everything is back to normal nearly two weeks after the attack. He said that time was stressful and unexpected.

"It was very distressing to me and all the rest of our staff," Caro Community Hospital CEO Marc Augsburger said.

He said he still has a lot of questions after the attack.

"The ransom note was pretty much just a prefabricated note talking about that we needed to contact a specialty email to find out what kind of bitcoin they were demanding as a payment to get our ransom or our locked data back," Augsburger said.

The payment was estimated about $120,000.

It still has hospital IT, the FBI and several other agencies scratching their heads.

"They told us that it was a brand new strain and something they didn't have a lot of information on yet," Augsburger said.

With the looming threat, Augsburger said they made the call right away to shut down all of their electronics which caused a significant disruption to the hospital.

"They were able to shut down all of our server information and all of our computers," Augsburger said.

To make matters worse, all of the hospital's phones operate through those computers. Augsburger said the staff was prepared for a situation like this.

"As far as patient care, it didn't affect them at all. We have a great staff that are very used to moving things over to paper for any kind of a disaster. There are times where we actually practiced that," Augsburger said.

He said patient's personal information was probably not compromised.

"We have no information that that occurred at this time. However, I will say that we do have forensic experts coming in through our insurance company to help us deal with all of those kind of issues," Augsburger said.

He said he was very surprised to learn of the attack. He never expected to see it right in his own town.

Augsburger also said the FBI out of Detroit and Bay City, as well as local police, have been working very hard to find those responsible.

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