Breach, Threat Management, Data Security

Ransomware attack pays off as Delaware Guidance Services gives in to criminals

The Delaware Guidance Services (DGS) for Children and Youth is the latest organization to pay off the cybercriminals who locked up their network with a ransomware attack.

The Dover, Del., based organization said in a letter to its patients and guardians that the attack took place on December 25, 2018. Files containing personal information, such as name, address, birth date, Social Security Number, and medical information were affected. DGS is a not-for-profit provider of comprehensive psychiatric services for children and their families in Delaware.

“To secure release of the records, DGS was required to pay a “ransom,” in exchange for a de-encryption ‘key’ that unlocked the records,” it said.

DGS did not indicate in the letter whether or not it tried to rectify the situation and recover the information without paying the ransom nor how much was paid. The organization has hired an outside security firm to investigate the matter and to determine if the data was accessed by the attackers. At this time, DGS said, it does not believe any of the records were compromised.

DGS is not alone in deciding to pay the ransom in order to regain access to their systems. Jackson County, Ga., officials paid $400,000 to its attackers last week and Columbia Surgical Specialist of Spokane, Wash., shelled out a $15,000 ransom earlier this month to recover from an attack.

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