HENDERSON, KY (WFIE) - A cyber security breach, striking Methodist Hospital in Henderson. We're learning the FBI is investigating this right now, but there's some good news.
Officials at Methodist Hospital say this hack is "ransomware" in action. Hackers have locked patients files and they're demanding money for to regain access to them. We're finding out hackers have gotten away with this before.
Viruses and computer malware isn't new, but this ransomware - is. Right now, the FBI is investigating a very similar case of ransomware at a Los Angeles hospital. Officials say that hospital paid about $17,000 to those hackers for the access back to the patients files.
"In the past, we haven't seen crimes in such a large scale like Methodist," said KSP trooper Shane Settle. "In general, the more a criminal commits a crime, the more confident they get, especially if they get away with it. I think that's what you're seeing here is they are shooting for a much larger target and more money."
David Park, COO of Methodist, tells 14 NEWS the hackers have copied patients records and locked those copies. They've deleted the originals.
"We've notified the FBI, we're dealing with federal authorities on how to deal with it," said David Park, Methodist Hospital COO. "Depending upon the number of records that were locked, depends upon whether we're going to consider looking into whether we pay anything or not."
In a release, hospital officials say they want to reassure patients their information is secure. They say, they activated a back-up system while the main network was locked down. The hospital has been able to run smoothly without interrupting daily operations.
Still - the attack is unnerving.
"Viruses and malware have been out since computers have been out, this is the next generation of that," said Henderson Community College IT Manager Joe Heerdink. "It's a different format of taking your information. The goal of this is not to have information and sell it to other people, it's to have their information and hold it against you so you will pay them."
Methodist Hospital officials say, while the issue is not yet resolved, their Information Systems Department responded quickly to prevent the virus from spreading.
COO Park says they hope to have all original patient records unlocked and the virus gone by this weekend.