CO: Hit by ransomware, Estes Park Health decides to pay the ransom to get decryption keys

Zach Clemens reports that Estes Park Health suffered a ransomware attack on June 2. No data was exfiltrated, but it was locked up, and after consulting with their cyberinsurer and IT people, they decided that they had to pay the ransom.

“At that point in time we are looking at the patients we have internally, we are looking at what is coming through the door and monitoring everything that was going on,” Leaming said.

And THAT’s what people who are not in healthcare don’t “get” when they blithely just advise entities to never pay ransom. If you are a healthcare facility you have to try to determine whether you can protect patient safety and health if you don’t pay the ransom. If your computer system got locked up but you have usable backups, then you are in a different situation than if your computer system was locked up and you’re the trauma center for your region.

“I think it is important to say that likely the only way to restore the software in the clinic and the only way we were able to restore the imaging and so forth is because our insurance company paid the ransom money and we were able to get the keys to unlock those files,” Leaming said.

Leaming did not mention having usable backups, and that is something that I expect the insurer asked about and that OCR will ask about.

EPH had to pay a $10,000 deductible to the insurance company for their payment of the ransom. Yet Leaming did say that an initial amount was paid, and as they were unlocking files, they found more locks, which they had to go back and pay the hackers more.

It is not clear how much they paid, total. Nor do they reveal the type of ransomware used.

Read more on the Estes Park Trail-Gazette.

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