‘Ransomware’ Attacks On California Hospitals Expose Risks To Sensitive Health Data
Cybersecurity experts say hospitals are particularly vulnerable because of aging equipment, nonstop schedules and high-volume communication needs. In other information technology news, researchers develop a Twitter-based smoking cessation program and Yelp reviewers offer broader hospital reviews than the government's standard survey.
The Sacramento Bee:
California Hospital Hacks Reveal Weak Links In Health Cybersecurity
For 10 days in February, the staff at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had to treat patients the old fashioned way with pen-and-paper forms, faxes and hand-delivered X-rays. Gone were many of the data-reliant, high-tech tools that have transformed medical care, according to local media reports. The Los Angeles hospital had fallen victim to a ransomware attack – increasingly common network break-ins that encrypt all information in their path. When hospital computer systems freeze, the hackers offer to reverse the encryption in exchange for cash. (Caiola, 4/5)
Can Social Media Help You Quit Smoking?
You use Facebook to stay in touch with old friends from high school. You use Instagram to share pictures of your breakfast. But can you use Twitter to quit smoking? Researchers from several California universities developed a Twitter-based smoking cessation program called Tweet2Quit and then tested it. (Plevin, 4/6)
The Washington Post:
What Yelp Can Tell You About A Hospital That Official Ratings Can’t
If you've ever taken the time to give Yelp your two cents about a hospital, you'll be happy to know that someone's listening and that they've deemed the crowdsourced information not only useful — but unique. In what is believed to be the first large-scale analysis of such data, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania looked at 17,000 Yelp reviews of 1,352 hospitals from consumers. They found that the online information provides a broader sense of a facility than the current gold standard — a U.S. government survey that costs millions of dollars to develop and implement each year. (Cha, 4/5)