Industry News

Ransomware Operators Phone Victims to Announce They’ve Been Hacked

A dental practice in the US state of Georgia has learned its systems were infected with ransomware only after the attackers rang them up to clue them in.

On September 9, Galstan & Ward Family and Cosmetic Dentistry (Galstan & Ward) learned they had been infected with ransomware “when they got a phone call from a group claiming to have attacked them and demanding a ransom,” according to DataBreaches.net.

Drs. Galstan and Ward had noticed some anomalies with their computer system but thought little of it. After calling in an IT vendor to assist with the troubles, they reportedly got the call, then learned that “several files from their server were posted to a website on the dark web.”

The files contained no patient information, according to a note to clients sent on November 13. The notice says Galstan & Ward contacted outside counsel, “who immediately engaged a computer security firm to conduct a forensic analysis and provide remediation services.”

“Their analysis confirmed that the restored server was free from any malware. The security firm could find no evidence that confidential patient data stored in Galstan& Ward’s dental practice software system was accessed or acquired. Additional investigation did not find evidence of acquisition or access of confidential patient information,” the practice teold affected parties.

Because Galstan & Ward stores patient names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and dental records, the office is offering all patients who might be impacted free credit monitoring and identity theft restoration services through IDX.

In accordance with the law, the practice has notified HHS of the incident.

In an update to the original post, DataBreaches.net reveals that the ransomware strain used was Conti. The same strain was used in the ransomware attack on Advantech, with the attackers demanding a $14 million ransom from the IoT chipmaker.

Wizard Spider, the cybercriminal gang that developed and distributes the Trickbot Trojan, is believed to be leveraging Conti ransomware the most.

About the author

Filip TRUTA

Filip is an experienced writer with over a decade of practice in the technology realm. He has covered a wide range of topics in such industries as gaming, software, hardware and cyber-security, and has worked in various B2B and B2C marketing roles. Filip currently serves as Information Security Analyst with Bitdefender.