Wood Ranch Medical Totally Shut Down Operations Due to Ransomware Attack

A damaging ransomware attack on Wood Ranch Medical in Simi Valley, CA caused its irreversible shutting down on December 17, 2019. The attack took place on August 10, 2019 and the ransomware corrupted the servers. There was extensive encryption of records, which prevented access to healthcare data. The magnitude of the attack was extensive that it completely ruined the computer systems so file recovery became very unlikely. Even if the company had patient data backups, those copies were encrypted as well, therefore, it was not possible to recover patient files.

Ransomware attacks are typically planned with the main intention of extorting dollars. The attackers encrypt files and demand ransom. If the business doesn’t pay the ransom demand, the files stay encrypted. However, ransom payment doesn’t ensure file recovery additionally it encourages even more attacks. Hence the FBI doesn’t advise ransom payments.

In this circumstance, the practice feels that the main purpose of the attack was to acquire payment and no patient information is thought to have been viewed by the attackers or retrieved from its servers. Nevertheless, impacted patients were informed to exercise careful attention and check their explanation of benefits statements and credit reports for fraudulent transactions. The types of data possibly compromised were names, birth dates, addresses, health details, and medical insurance data.

Wood Ranch Medical’s site presently simply put up its substitute breach notice documenting that WRM is committed to the security of its patients’ data and genuinely apologizes for any problem this incident may result in. The ransomware attack impacts 5,835 patients and got notification letters via mail. In the subsequent two months, the practice is going to work with patients to assist them in searching for substitute medical practitioners around the area who could give their healthcare needs.

This event illustrates the tragic impact of ransomware attacks. In this instance, the practice closed down, left employees with no job, substantially interrupted patient healthcare and forever lost the patients’ health files.

This is isn’t the first healthcare provider that closed due to a ransomware attack and it will not the last. Early this 2019, Brookside ENT and Hearing Center in Battle Creek, MI likewise encountered a ransomware attack that totally encrypted patient data. Its owners decided to close the business and retired early instead of re-establish the practice from nothing.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA