Report: Ransomware attacks have cost Pa. healthcare providers $4.5M since 2016 | Thursday Morning Coffee

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Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

According to a new report, 172 ransomware attacks since 2016 have cost healthcare providers more than $157 million, and five of those attacks, in Pennsylvania, have set those companies back some $4.5 million. That’s according to research by industry publication Comparitech.

And that matters to you because the hacks ended up leaving untreated patients and canceled appointments in their wake.

In Pennsylvania, the medical records of some 343,000 people were affected by the attacks, the Comparitech research found. Overall, about 2.68 percent of the state’s population of nearly 13 million people were affected by the ransomware attacks. That’s a small number, but still a giant headache for those caught in its wake.

Capital-Star file

Here’s another look at the impact, by the numbers:

  • “1,446 hospitals, clinics, and organizations affected
  • 74 percent of organizations affected were hospitals or clinics, the remaining were IT providers (5%), elderly care providers (7%), dental (5%) or optometry practices (6%), plastic surgeons (2%), medical testing (2%), health insurance (1%), government health (1%), and medical supplies (1%)
  • 6,649,713 patients affected
  • Ransomware amounts vary from $1,600 to $14,000,000
  • Downtime caused varies from hours to weeks and even months
  • Hackers have demanded ransoms totaling more than $16.48 million since 2016
  • Hackers have received at least $640,000 since 2016
  • The overall cost of these attacks is estimated at $157 million”

“With hospitals and other health providers often being seen as ‘easy targets’ for hackers, ransomware will continue to be a growing concern for organizations and patients alike,” the report concluded. “Even though most ransomware attacks to date have targeted patient data and hospital systems, there is potential for far worse. As technology continues to develop, cybersecurity efforts need to keep pace. Without the right safety measures in place, hospitals may soon be facing ransomware attacks on life-saving equipment and technology as well as crucial patient data and systems.”

Our Stuff.
There’s now a massive hole at the top of the Republican leadership in the General Assembly. On Wednesday night, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, announced his retirement after two decades in the upper chamber, 14 of them as its presiding officer.

Stephen Caruso caught up with Democratic 10th Congressional District hopeful Tom Brieras he courted a critical voting bloc: Black voters. 

Elizabeth Hardison has what you need to know about a new conviction integrity unit in state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office.

U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, heard the stories of people concerned about the state of rural healthcare during a Senate hearing Wednesday. Associate Editor Cassie Miller has the story.

And in this week’s edition of The Numbers RacketMiller also has an up-close look at Pennsylvania’s homeless population.

Gov. Tom Wolf has carried through on his vow to veto legislation that would have barred him — and his eventual successor — from shutting down two, state-owned residential centers for people with intellectual disabilities. The move has outraged lawmakers who represent those centers in the General Assembly.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: Community leaders at a packed hearing called for the city to do more about gun violence. And on its 55th anniversary, scholars and experts say it’s more important than ever to protect the legacy of the Voting Rights Act.

On our Commentary Page, Opinion regular Anwar Curtis brings you the story of a Harrisburg couple working to increase access to opportunity — one student at a time. And even though President Donald Trump wasn’t convicted, Duquesne University law prof Bruce Ledewitz says it was still a win for Congressional Dems. 

New Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (Photo via The Philadelphia Tribune)

Elsewhere.
The Inquirer
 explains how new Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw is already starting to shake things up.
The Legislative Black Caucus has called for an investigation of an Allegheny County judge accused of making racist comments, the Post-Gazette reports.
PennLive’s John Baer has some reflections as Presidents’ Day closes in.
A Berks County woman will stand trial in the hanging deaths of her two children, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

The PA Post looks at fund-raising in Pennsylvania’s 8th and 10th Congressional Districts, where the two incumbents face tough races.
Speaking of which, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District, had the strongest Q4 fundraising haul of the Pennsylvania delegation, PoliticsPA reports.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf 
takes his college affordability road show to West Chester University for a 10 a.m. appearance.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Tim Hennessey
5:30 p.m: 
Reception for Sen. Sharif Street
6 p.m.: Allegheny County GOP Lincoln Dinner

Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a truly appalling $37,500.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Kate Landis, at WITF-FM, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old favorite from Scottish popsters Altered Images. it’s ‘Don’t Talk to Me About Love.

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Boston 
blew past Montreal 4-1, with the Bruins’ David Pastrnak logging a hat trick on the way to the win.

And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press