Cyber criminals hack Park DuValle Community Health system, demand $70,000

Park Duvalle Community Health hoping to have data running by August

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville healthcare facility has become the victim of a ransomware attack.

Park DuValle Community Health Center said cyber criminals hacked into their computer system in two separate attacks three months apart.

The non-profit was able to resolve the April 2 hack by utilizing their backup system. But that didn’t work when the second hack happened on June 7.

Since then, the health center hasn’t had access to patient information or records in their electronic system. While they are still seeing patients, they’ve been forced to go back to the old way of doing things.

"This has been really hard for our staff and patients,” Ann Hagan-Grisby, CEO of Park DuValle Community Health Center, said. “Working on paper is not easy; I mean I remember it from the 80s!”

Ann Hagan-Grisby, CEO of Park DuValle Community Health Center, says they opted to pay the $70,000 ransom rather than start from scratch.
Ann Hagan-Grisby, CEO of Park DuValle Community Health Center, says they opted to pay the $70,000 ransom rather than start from scratch. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

The cyber hackers demanded a $70,000 ransom in exchange for the center’s digital data. Rather than starting over from scratch, they opted to pay the ransom.

Hagan-Grisby said the decryption keys needed to unlock the system were received after the payment and the center’s IT team is working through the decryption process now. She said there’s no evidence to support that any patient information was compromised.

"It feels bad that our credibility is being tested or being questioned because we don’t have any reason to lie to our patients and we never have and we aren’t going to,” Hagan-Grigsby said.

Park DuValle Community Health's IT team hopes to have the data system back up and running by August.
Park DuValle Community Health's IT team hopes to have the data system back up and running by August. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

According to the FBI, ransomware hacks like this one are on the rise and the perpetrators are tough to track down. Nationwide, companies paid more than $3.5 million to ransomware hackers in 2018. Hagan-Grisby said after the first attack, they added extra security protections to their system.

"We thought that we were protected, but we weren’t as protected as we thought we were,” she said.

This time around, Hagan-Grisby said they’re taking security measures to the next level. She said $130,000 has already been spent to secure the system in the future.

Hagan-Grisby added they hope to have all the data back and systems up and running by the beginning of August.

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