University of Maryland Medical System Malware Attack Unsuccessful

The University of Maryland Medical System found the unauthorized installation of a malware on its system on December 9, 2018. Because of the speedy response of the UMMS IT department team, the malware infection of the computers were contained and no serious harm happened.

Jon P. Burns, the senior VP and chief information officer of UMMS, in a statement said that most of the devices infected by the malware were desktop computers. The IT staff was able to respond quickly and quarantined the infected computers. As a result, the malware did not succeed at encrypting any file and no medical service was affected during the attack.

The malware was discovered at 4:30 a.m. By 7 a.m., the IT department already took the UMMS systems offline and quarantined the infected computers. The following day, the majority of its computer systems were renovated and were fully functional.

This malware attack incident shows how imperative it is for healthcare organizations to include a tested incident response plan in their emergency procedures so that it can be implemented without delay in case there is a security breach or a malware attack.

UMMS manages over 150 medical facilities with well over 27,000 computers. Without a breach response plan, the malware attack on UMMS could have had a serious effect on its medical services and had a bad consequence on patients.

At this point in time, UMMS is convinced that no medical files or patient data were exposed. The malware attack investigation is still ongoing. There’s no information yet regarding the manner by which the malware was downloaded onto its systems. UMMS is being aided by computer forensics professionals in the investigation. As soon as the cause of the attack is determined, supplemental safeguards will be applied.