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Ransomware Attack Knocks 100 Romanian Hospitals Offline

Romanian hospitals turn to pen and paper after ransomware attack on centralized healthcare management system.

Romanian hospitals turned to using pen and paper for record keeping on Monday morning after a file-encrypting ransomware attack on a widely used healthcare management system.

Over the weekend, a threat actor targeted the Hipocrate Information System (HIS) and deployed the Backmydata ransomware, which encrypted data pertaining to 26 hospitals across the country. The HIS system was knocked offline as well.

According to Romania’s National Cyber Security Directorate (DNSC), the attackers first encrypted the data of a children’s hospital on Saturday, February 10, with the rest of the facilities targeted between February 11 and February 12.

DNSC also says that 74 other healthcare facilities connected to the HIS system have been cut off from the internet while investigators are trying to determine whether they have been affected as well.

According to DNSC, most of the impacted hospitals have fresh backups of their data, which should allow for fast restoration of all systems. At one facility, however, the backup does not include the last 12 days of data.

On Tuesday, DNSC announced that the number of impacted hospitals has increased to 26 and that the attackers have made a 3.5 Bitcoin (roughly $175,000) ransom demand. Victims, however, are advised to refrain from contacting the attackers and paying up.

DNSC has told all hospitals to isolate the impacted systems, save the ransom notes and system logs, investigate the logs to identify the point of entry, keep the impacted systems on so that evidence can be retrieved from memory, inform all relevant parties of the incident, restore the impacted systems using backups, and ensure that all applications and operating systems are up to date.

A cancer treatment organization told a local news outlet on Monday that all servers were shut down and that the internet was disconnected to prevent data leaks. At this hospital alone, more than 180 patient admissions were registered on paper on Monday and blood work was printed on paper as well.

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The Backmydata ransomware used in this attack is part of the Phobos family, which typically infects systems by exploiting flaws in Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) services, including weak login credentials.

On the infected systems, Backmydata achieves persistence, disables firewalls, deletes volume shadow copies, and encrypts and exfiltrates data.

In their ransom note, the cybercriminals claim to have stolen confidential data that will be sold if a ransom is not paid, and provide an email address that victims should use for communication.

Related: A Chicago Children’s Hospital Has Taken Its Networks Offline After a Cyberattack

Related: Ardent Hospitals Diverting Patients Following Ransomware Attack

Related: Ransomware Gang Leaks Data Allegedly Stolen From Canadian Hospitals

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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