A hospital in Romania has been targeted in a ransomware attack with the perpetrators seeking payment in cryptocurrency to decrypt its database. The hack prevents the medical institution from reporting to the country’s health insurance fund in order to receive due funding.
The Saint Gheorghe Recovery Hospital in Botoşani, Northeastern Romania, has become the target of hackers who locked its medical records from December and demanded to be paid in cryptocurrency to restore access to the files.
After compromising the servers they encrypted the data and left a message in English, asking for a ransom of 3 BTC (over $50,000 at current exchange rates), the local news outlet Monitorul de Botoşani reported on Tuesday, quoted by the English-language portal Romania Insider.
The attack has been well-prepared, the publication noted. Neither the computer specialists from the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism nor experts working for the Romanian cybersecurity firm Bitdefender were able to decrypt the information.
Dr. Cătălin Dascălescu, the hospital’s managing director, told journalists that law enforcement authorities have launched an investigation. “We hope to resume medical activity at normal capacity from Monday,” he added, without revealing further details.
With its database hijacked, the hospital cannot file its reports for the services performed in the last month of 2022 and receive the respective payments.
However, officials at Romania’s National Health Insurance House said they are working on a solution that will allow the medical staff to receive their salaries.
Investigators believe that the hackers have accessed the data remotely through the systems of a company responsible for maintaining the computing equipment.
This isn’t the first hacking incident of this kind in Romania in recent years. In the summer of 2019, four other hospitals were targeted in a similar fashion. Hospitals and healthcare providers in the U.S. also became victims of ransomware attacks in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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