Hospital learns the hard way why you don’t pay ransomware crooks

May 26, 2016

When you are sick, you head to the doctor. However, when your computer is suffering from an infection, you probably shouldn’t ask for your doctor’s advice. At Kaspersky Lab, we often harp on the fact that you should NOT pay, if you become infected with ransomware.

Hospital learns the hard way why you don't pay ransomware crooks

The reason has multiple facets; perhaps one of the biggest is that you can never trust a criminal. Unfortunately, Kansas Heart Hospital had to learn that lesson the hard way. You see, they paid the ransom, but they gained access to only some of their files — and the crooks demanded more money.

It is definitely not a great position for the hospital to be in, but at least they can serve as an example of why infected users should avoid paying to regain access to their files.

Criminals, like ransomware, are constantly evolving. If they see you as an easy mark, you are as good as an ATM — which by the way can also be hacked — lining their pockets to get files back.

Kansas Heart Hospital has learned from its initial mistake in paying and is refusing to pay the new ransom. The hospital also had plans in place that helped minimize the damage.

Although we would never wish it on anyone, it’s a sad fact that ransomware is here to stay. It has been around for years, but high-profile attacks on hospitals are bringing this scourge of the Internet into prime time. Worse, in regions like North America, general awareness of ransomware is low. Add that to the notion that the ethos of hackers may be shifting, and we could be seeing a shift of criminal operations in the profitable world of ransomware.

What we recommend everyone do is back up all of your files to an external drive or the cloud on a regular basis, and have a security solution running. This applies to both individuals and companies.

Some additional articles to keep up to date with the ransomware epidemic.