Saturday, June 13, 2009

Criminal Attacker Blamed for Topeka Health Clinic Loss

I live in northeast Kansas. You read stories all the time of companies being the victims from some criminal attacker who is able to place a piece of malware on PC's and stealing money. Well, the headlines read that a Topeka health clinic, Sisters of Charity Marian Clinic, filed charges of a loss of $100,000 from their bank account. It is sad to read things like these, but in my line of work, it doesn't surprise me. Click here to read the Topeka newspaper story.

I'm sure that computer security awareness was not a part of the clinic's budget. They probably didn't have much of a budget at all for that matter for computer security. This could have happened a couple of different ways. It could have been an e-mail that came in that had either malicious links or attachments that someone from the clinic clicked on. This would be my guess as to how this happened. Or, it could have been just casual browsing on a legitimate website that had been hacked and malicious code injected that redirected them to a site which attacked the computer.

This computer was probably not patched. Probably Adobe Reader was an older version, or Microsoft patches that were not up to date. It doesn't matter what the vulnerable application was, it happened and it sucks that an organization that does what the Sisters of Charity Marian Clinic does, has to suffer such a loss.

Hopefully they can find out who was behind this, but the chances are, the responsible parties are located in a country that we have no way of getting to them. Possibly and eastern European country like Romania, or possibly Russia, or China will be where they were located. Hopefully the clinic will take computer security much more serious now. Knowing Topeka, there aren't a whole lot of options for the clinic to get the education they need so they will probably turn to the Geek Squad (I really hope not).

I guess the lesson learned is if you are doing financial transactions on a PC, you really need to make sure that patches are up to date, the machine is scanned often, and don't rely on just anti-virus alone. There are other options for you that will help protect these assets so things like this won't happen again also.

Stay safe out there, and have a great rest of the weekend.

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