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U.K. Hospital Ransomware Attacks Show Need for Software Updates

Posted in Electronic Health Records, HIPAA and the HITECH Act, Hospitals and Institutions, Privacy and Data Protection

A May 16 article, “U.K. Hospital Ransomware Attacks Show Need for Software Updates,” in Bloomberg BNA’s Privacy Law Watch and other publications discussed last week’s ransomware attacks that hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide and crippled more than 16 British hospitals. Day Pitney’s Eric Fader was quoted in the article.

Eric told Bloomberg BNA the attacks highlighted the need for healthcare organizations to take immediate steps to protect their computer systems. The WannaCry virus exploited a flaw in Microsoft Windows that Microsoft discovered and patched in an update in March, but organizations and individuals that run older versions of Windows and aren’t current with their updates are at risk, he said.

“Probably the only way to protect the organization is to ensure that no one clicks on an email attachment [containing malware], but it’s difficult to achieve a 100 percent education of your workforce when the malware rides on what looks like an email from the recipient’s friend,” Eric said. He told Bloomberg BNA that Day Pitney’s IT department circulated an email on May 15 reiterating the warning that employees shouldn’t click on any attachments they’re not expecting, and every organization should do the same. Ongoing education and reinforcement is critical, Eric warned, because even smart people can slip up and accidentally click on an attachment containing malware.

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