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FBI Investigating MedStar Health Computer Hack

Questions over whether malware that infected the network of a Washington-based healthcare firm MedStar Health Inc., is ransomware.

Malware infected the network of Washington's MedStar Health Inc., early Monday morning, forcing the hospital administration to shut down its computers, email system, and large record database to inhibit its spread to other locations. The medical group operates ten hospitals in the Maryland and Washington region, with more than 30,000 employees and thousands of patients.

The FBI is investigating the case to determine whether it was a ransomware attack, according to an AP report. Ransomware attacks typically hold system operations hostage until victims pay a ransom to regain access and return operations back to normal.

A MedStar official said the incident had no impact on patient care and all clinical operations were up. The hospital was operating via a paper-based system.

The medical director for Maryland's emergency medical services network told the AP he suspects that it is a ransomware attack, because of the recent wave of medical institutions targeted by hackers to extort money in the form of digital currency. In February this year, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a ransom of around $17,000 in Bitcoins to release its system from the attackers.

For complete story about the outage at MedStar Health, see the AP article.          

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