Reston Dermatology practice latest victim of ransomware

- A Reston Dermatology practice is the latest victim of serious hacking that could have put thousands of local patients personal information at risk.

The criminals are now holding that stolen data for ransom. In an age where technology is constantly changing, businesses are having a hard time keeping up, especially with threats from hackers, which might make you think twice the next time you give out any personal information, even at the doctor’s office.

“We've had our credit card lifted like three times— the last time it was a month ago and someone in Greece was having a good time with it,” said Pam Lucas who had her personal information stolen from hackers. “It's really a shame because we end up paying for it in the end.”

Now even a trip to the doctor can make you susceptible. The professional dermatology care office in Reston was hit and hackers froze access to their system filled with thousands of patients records, personal and medical information – and are holding them hostage.

“Ransom ware infection is a type of malware or a virus. which means a user probably clicked on a link or more likely opened an attachment to an email. And when they ran it, it ended up locking up the system,” said Anup Ghosh, the CEO of Invincea, a next generation anti-virus company and says ransomware attacks are becoming more and more prevalent. Because most businesses lack security expertise, relying too often on just their firewall security.

“Unfortunately most of those products today are not equipped to deal with these types of threats,” Ghosh said. “For now, ransomware attacks are just after the money, not so much the stolen data.”

“It’s pretty scary sometimes I just can't even think about it, I just have to live my life and just try and put up all the checks and balances that we have,” Pam said.

Unfortunately Ghosh says there’s not a lot as a consumer we can do to prevent these attacks, it’s really up to the businesses to properly protect your data. If you do become a victim, Ghosh recommends signing up for a credit monitoring service that will notify you if someone tries to take advantage of your credit.


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