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Cyber attacks becoming more common during pandemic

Posted at 5:57 PM, Sep 25, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Cyber attacks, like what's causing Nebraska Medicine to cancel some patient appointments, are becoming increasingly common.

A hospital spokesperson said Thursday they're using a contingency plan that's allowing them to see patients with appointments or surgeries critical to their health. As part of that plan the emergency room remains open.

They had no updates to report as of Friday.

“Everyone is working from home right now so it’s opening up a lot of the networks to vulnerabilities,” James Thompson, President of Elkhorn Computer, said.

He said ransomware is the most common type of attack businesses are experiencing right now.

“What they do is they encrypt your data and they won’t give you the encryption key until you pay a ransom,” Thompson said.

You may see a pop up window, with a countdown, demanding anywhere from $100 to $1 million. Thompson said you're dealing with criminals so paying the ransom isn't recommended and it's not even a guarantee you'll get your information back.

“We’ve seen it where customers have paid the ransom and weeks later, they get encrypted again,” Thompson said.

The best thing you can do is have a backup in place.

“Making sure you have a current and up to date back up of whatever it is,” Thompson said. “It could happen to residential, so it could be your family photos or if you’re a large business it could be all of your company data. Just making sure you’re protecting it with a backup you know is working.”

Nebraska Medicine spokesperson said, “Our back-up and recovery processes assured that no patients’ electronic medical records were deleted or destroyed. We are grateful for our innovative and proactive IT team for implementing procedures that are enabling us to restore operations very quickly. We anticipate that normal operations will resume in days.”