LA Department of Health latest ransomware victim

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services has been targeted in a ransomware attack, just days after Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid about $17,000 to hackers who left employees without access to systems for more than a week, reports the Los Angeles Times.

At the LA health department, remnants of a ransomware thread were found on five work computers last Wednesday, but the attack did not affect operations, spokesman Michael Wilson told the LA Times. The malware did not spread and the network was not compromised, he added.

The incident was reported to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the county's chief information office, and Wilson said the country will not pay the ransom.

While often the source of a ransomware attack is unknown, Turkish hackers have recently claimed credit for the Hollywood Presbyterian attack. They vowed to keep up attacks as long as the U.S. government continues to support Kurdish rebels, according to the International Business Times.

Health systems in the U.S. are not the only victims in the recent growth of ransomware incidents. At least two German hospitals also have come under attack, according to IT officials at Lukas Hospital in Germany's western city of Neuss took systems down after noticing unusual pop-up warnings and the network running slowly. Malware infected systems at Klinikum Arnsberg hospital in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia apparently through a booby-trapped email attachment.

Security experts have previosuly predicted a rise in ransomware attacks. Last month, Mount Pleasant Texas-based Titus Regional Medical Center's electronic health record system was left inaccessible by such an attack.

Experts have also said attackers could use ransomware to target medical devices.

To learn more:
- here's the LA Times article
- read the Register story
- check out the International Business Times piece