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Persona (non) grata

Persona (non) grata

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They don’t give a hoot about the Hippocratic Oath

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Monday, June 6, 2016

A philosophical discipline called ethics examines moral issues. A special branch of ethics known as deontology (or medical ethics) regulates doctor-patient relationships. The first principles of medical ethics were formed by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician. An important aspect of medical ethics is the obligation on the part of the physician to respect patient confidentiality—to keep the patient's medical history safe from anyone who could use it to cause harm.

But have hackers taken the Hippocratic Oath or studied deontology?

One of a doctor’s responsibilities is to document patient medical history. Due to advancements, it’s become possible to switch from handwritten charts to electronic medical records. In addition, a lot of medical facilities are already utilising an electronic document flow to write prescriptions, refer patients for procedures, etc. What happens to a hospital when its computer network malfunctions? It can’t admit and treat people—the whole process collapses. And, what happens if the system is down for several days?

Knowing full well how susceptible hospitals are to malfunctions, how important their reputations are to them, and how painful data leaks are for them, cybercriminals have turned their attention to medical institutions.

During the last couple of years, attacks on medical institutions have acquired epidemic proportions — i.e., they have become widespread.

For example, we’ve already seen instances of encryption ransomware attacks being used to corrupt the data of medical institutions. Doctor Web has repeatedly received decryption requests from medical institutions in both Europe and the United States.

Hackers are only out to get a ransom, but the medical records they acquire could be used to blackmail and extort money from patients. This data can be disclosed if a public person is involved. It can also be sold to competitors. The imaginations of these villains, who have not studied deontology, have no limits.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

  1. It’s a complete MYTH that hackers are elusive and can remain completely anonymous online. Just as uploaded data never disappears from a network, data concerning a person once visiting the darknet never disappears either. Anyone can be caught.
  2. If your medical history has been stolen from a hospital and you are blackmailed, protect yourself from the blackmailer. To help law enforcement authorities catch the person, first make a statement about the incident to your local police. Otherwise, the process of catching the villain can’t get underway.


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