Hackers demand $10m for eight million medical records they are holding “hostage”

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 12 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1917
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

    Computer hackers have broken into a US state’s prescription monitoring website and deleted more than eight million medical records, replacing the website’s homepage with a $10m (£6.6m; €7.5m) ransom note.

    In return for the ransom money the hackers said they would “gladly send along the password” to allow officials to restore the records.

    The intrusion into the Virginia website, which is used by pharmacists to track prescription information for certain classes of drugs such as sleeping pills and painkillers, was discovered on 30 April. The website has been removed.

    The electronic attack is similar to a case in October 2008 in which hackers …

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