Practice Economics

HHS issues guidance on ransomware attacks



The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights has issued new guidance to help physicians and their practices combat a ransomware attack.

Ransomware – a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid – is becoming a bigger problem for U.S. businesses in general. Daily ransomware attacks against all types of computer systems increased 300% in early 2016 to 4,000, from 1,000 daily attacks in 2015, according to the Department of Justice.

The HHS fact sheet offers information on how HIPAA compliance can help protect and recover infected systems; how to detect if systems are infected; and what to do if a system becomes infected, including what is reportable.

There are “measures known to be effective to prevent the introduction of ransomware and to recover from a ransomware attack,” according to HHS.

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