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Indiana Physicians Group Suffers SamSam Ransomware Attack

Allied Physicians Group of Michiana has experienced a ransomware attack that took part of its network out of action.

The attack occurred on Thursday May 17, 2018 and resulted in the encryption of several files on its network. It is currently unclear whether any protected health information encrypted. An investigation into the security incident is continuing to determine whether any protected health information was compromised in the attack.

The attack was detected promptly and action was immediately taken to shut down its network to protect the PHI of patients. Allied Physicians Group of Michiana has been working with its incident responder, outside counsel, and other professionals to determine the scope of the breach and recover encrypted data.

The Indiana Physicians Group reports that all data have now been recovered in a secure format and the attack did not cause significant disruption to patients. Steps have already been taken to improve security and prevent future attacks of this nature from occurring.

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CEO Shery Roussarie explained in a May 21 press release that the attack involved a variant of SamSam ransomware, which has been used in several cyberattacks so far this year, including the ransomware attack on the City of Atlanta.

The cybercriminal gang behind these SamSam ransomware attacks attempts to extort money from victims with ransom payments typically in the region of $45,000. While a ransom payment was issued by the attackers, it is not clear how much the ransom was and whether it was paid. In the press release Roussarie said, “The Company declines to confirm whether a ransom was paid or, if so, the amount.”

Allied Physicians Group of Michiana is working with the FBI and all relevant regulatory agencies to thoroughly define the scope of the incident. Further information will be released when it becomes available and patients will be notified if their PHI was compromised.

Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.