Virus Nails Hospital, Causes Massive Data Breach

Erin McCann | GovernnmentHealthIT | March 18, 2014

No hospital is too small, evidently, to serve as fodder for hackers. The latest hospital cyber-attack is reported by a small-town rural hospital in Colorado. The hospital discovered it had a computer virus that had collected and encrypted patient data in a hidden file system. As a result, some 5,400 patients were mailed breach notification letters on March 17.

Back in January, the 80-bed Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, Colo., discovered several of its computers had a virus that had copied screen shots of the computers and stored these images in an encrypted, hidden folder on the Valley View Hospital system, which could have been accessed by an outside entity, officials say.

Kevin Johnson, chief executive officer and principal security consultant at Secure Ideas, said the chances the data was accessed by an outside entity are "very high" indeed. "It would be unusual for malware to store the data and not either send it out or have it retrieved," Johnson told Healthcare IT News.