Ransomware Attack Against Healthcare Company Has Significant Impact

Ransomware Attack Against Healthcare Company Has Significant Impact

(USNewsBreak.com) – Ransomware attacks have become increasingly common as of late. Hackers gain access to a network, encrypt the data, and then lock administrators out until they pay a ransom. One specific attack late last month had a significant impact on healthcare, causing ripples that have spread across the nation.

On February 21, hackers targeted Change Healthcare, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, forcing payment systems offline and affecting many healthcare providers nationwide. The attack rendered Change Healthcare unable to process medical claims through traditional pathways. As a result, many providers have seen their payments dry up, leaving them short on cash to pay their staff members and operating expenses. While some have used their own money or considered taking out loans to pay their employees, others have laid off workers until the healthcare system resolves the problems.

For example, Pennsylvania doctor Christine Meyer said she had to consider putting her home up for collateral to pay her staff. The attack has made it difficult for her practice, and according to CBS News, she “cannot submit a single insurance claim” and “can’t get any patient payments.” Before the attack, her practice saw deposits of $20,000 to $50,000 per day. The healthcare system’s inability to process payments has dried up the flow of funds.

The aftermath of the attack caused the Biden Administration to get involved. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra called on parent UnitedHealth Group to provide practices and hospitals with more emergency funds to weather the storm until Change Healthcare returns its systems online. While UnitedHealth Group has offered fee- and interest-free loans, medical experts say the amounts barely scratch the surface of practices’ overall expenses.

Blackcat, a Russian hacker group with purported ties to the criminal organization that attacked the Colonial Pipeline in 2021, claimed responsibility for the attack. It claimed to have stolen more than 6TB of data. The HHS Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation into the attack to determine whether UnitedHealth followed health privacy laws and whether hackers gained access to patient data.

Copyright 2024, USNewsBreak.com