Golden EyePetya, the latest ransomware attack devastating businesses from shipping companies to banks and even drug manufacturers across the U.K., has brought to the fore the seriousness of cybersecurity and why it is an issue hospitals cannot afford to ignore. In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack crippled nearly a quarter of the hospitals in the U.K. and infected 200,000 computers across 150 countries, providing another stark example of what could happen here in the U.S.For those still learning about this new threat, ransomware is a type of malicious software that restricts access to a persons or organizations data through encryption. The hacker will demand a ransom be paid, usually via Bitcoin (a relatively untraceable digital currency), to regain access to the data. For a hospital, a ransomware attack could essentially shut down everything that the healthcare providers use to treat patients, including the pharmacy itself.The most recent incident is by no means the first attack of its kind; this tactic has been spreading, which should serve as a reminder to hospitals across the country to take stock of their cybersecurity protocols. These attacks are no longer a distant threat and hospitals must be prepared and have a plan in place to protect themselves, their staff, and their patients.

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