Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

2/19/2016
11:00 AM
Andrew Hay
Andrew Hay
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

Adding Up The Total Costs of Ransomware

It's a lot more than just the ransom. We did the math.

You may have already heard about the $17,000 ransom that Los Angeles-based Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid to regain control of their systems after the news broke Feb. 12. Time the news broke to the time the ransom was paid: four days. It may have started days before the news leaked but, for the sake of this blog post, we’ll assume four days total.

According to the American Hospital Directory, Hollywood Presbyterian had $974,387,384 in revenue and $20,979,948 in net income for 2015. If we divide both figures by 365 days we see that the hospital takes in roughly $2.7 million in revenue and generates $57,479 of net income per day. It was noted in several reports that long delays were experienced by patients and that medical information was being shared via phone and fax between doctors.

Let’s assume a 5% attrition per day for patients that decided to go to another hospital instead of dealing with the degraded experience. That’s a very conservative estimate, resulting in only 1.3 patients leaving per day, based on the 12,291 reported discharges in 2015. Hollywood Presbyterian is not the only hospital nearby. In fact, the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center is only 0.3 miles away (a 6-minute walk according to Google Maps) so our attrition rate is likely a conservative figure.

Our estimates show that Hollywood Presbyterian, with an attrition rate of 5% for the affected days, could have lost as much as $533,911 in revenue. This would have resulted in roughly $11,496 in net income losses.

Even using extremely casual attrition estimates of 1% still shows a meaningful impact on both revenue and income coming in at $106,782 and $2,299, respectively. 

As you can see, the reported $17,000 ransom was not the only expense incurred by Hollywood Presbyterian. These are, however, rough estimates. The estimates do not quantify the damage to the hospital’s brand and reputation, nor will it account for the reactionary investment in new security technologies that the hospital will undoubtedly be purchasing and implementing. The estimates also do not factor in the employee costs associated with diagnosing and addressing the issues during the incident.

And then there is the way the medical personnel exchanged information -- phone and fax. It’s with a high degree of confidence that some personally identifiable information (PII) and non-public information (NPI) was shared using these "traditional-non-traditional" methods of information exchange. As the organization likely digitizes nearly all of its data transmissions, what is the likelihood that some PII or NPI was exposed over the four-day period? I would argue that the likelihood is higher than usual and higher than what HIPAA and HITECH would deem compliant. I would not be surprised if the fallout of this event echoes for months to come. 

Andrew Hay is the CISO at DataGravity where he advocates for the company's total information security needs and is responsible for the development and delivery of the company's comprehensive information security strategy. Prior to that, Andrew was the Director of Research at ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Windows 10 Migration: Getting It Right
Kevin Alexandra, Principal Solutions Engineer at BeyondTrust,  5/15/2019
Baltimore Ransomware Attack Takes Strange Twist
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  5/14/2019
When Older Windows Systems Won't Die
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  5/17/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12184
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-19
There is XSS in browser/components/MarkdownPreview.js in BoostIO Boostnote 0.11.15 via a label named flowchart, sequence, gallery, or chart, as demonstrated by a crafted SRC attribute of an IFRAME element, a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-12136.
CVE-2019-12173
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-18
MacDown 0.7.1 (870) allows remote code execution via a file:\\\ URI, with a .app pathname, in the HREF attribute of an A element. This is different from CVE-2019-12138.
CVE-2019-12172
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-17
Typora 0.9.9.21.1 (1913) allows arbitrary code execution via a modified file: URL syntax in the HREF attribute of an AREA element, as demonstrated by file:\\\ on macOS or Linux, or file://C| on Windows. This is different from CVE-2019-12137.
CVE-2019-12168
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-17
Four-Faith Wireless Mobile Router F3x24 v1.0 devices allow remote code execution via the Command Shell (aka Administration > Commands) screen.
CVE-2019-12170
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-17
ATutor through 2.2.4 is vulnerable to arbitrary file uploads via the mods/_core/backups/upload.php (aka backup) component. This may result in remote command execution. An attacker can use the instructor account to fully compromise the system using a crafted backup ZIP archive. This will allow for PH...