Romanian Hospital Hacked; Bitcoin Ransom Demanded

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A hospital in Romania was the target of a ransomware attack, and the offenders demanded cryptocurrency to unlock the hospital’s database. The medical facility cannot report to the nation’s health insurance fund in order to receive the proper funding because of the hack.

According to Romanian media, the Botoşani Hospital was blackmailed for bitcoin.
Hackers locked the medical records of the Saint Gheorghe Recovery Hospital in Botoşani, Northeastern Romania, starting in December and demanded payment in cryptocurrency to unlock the files.

The local news outlet Monitorul de Botoşani reported on Tuesday, as cited by the English-language portal Romania Insider, that after breaching the servers, the attackers encrypted the data and left a message in English demanding 3 BTC (more than $50,000 at the current exchange rates) as a ransom.

The publication noted that the attack had been carefully planned. The data could not be decrypted by either computer experts from the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism or specialists employed by the Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender.

The managing director of the hospital, Dr. Cătălin Dascălescu, informed journalists that an investigation has been opened by law enforcement. Without providing any additional information, he continued, “We hope to resume medical activity at normal capacity from Monday.”

Because its database has been taken over, the hospital is unable to submit reports for services rendered in the final month of 2022 and collect the associated payments.

However, representatives of Romania’s National Health Insurance House stated that they are putting together a plan to enable the medical staff to receive their salaries.

The systems of a business in charge of maintaining the computing equipment are thought to have been used by the hackers to gain remote access to the data, according to investigators.

This type of hacking incident has occurred before in Romania in recent years. Four additional hospitals were targeted in a similar manner in the summer of 2019. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, hospitals and healthcare organizations in the U.S. also fell victim to ransomware attacks.

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