EDM Wednesday Briefing: Hospital Computer Virus, EgyptAir, Ebola, UN Urges Assistance
Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 30, 2016: A Washington, D.C. hospital system suffers a virus attack, the EgyptAir hijacking ends peacefully, Ebola is no longer international public health threat, and the UN urges nations to consider resettlement of refugees.
- A possible ransomware cyberattack at a Washington, D.C. area hospital system, MedStar, on Monday forced the hospital to shut down its computer system and emails as the FBI investigated the attack. A virus crippled online records, making it difficult to treat patients quickly and efficiently. Some patients had be turned away or treated without access to the important information. The system was still not back online as of Tuesday evening, although patient records could be read, but not updated. The hospital is being criticized by patients and staff for not have an effective crisis management plan, which would have better prepared them on proper protocols, which included paper charting.
- The cyber attack is at least the third one on a hospital in the U.S. this year - the first one was in Hollywood, CA, where the hospital system paid 40 bitcoin, or $17,000, for the key to quickly get its systems back. The second attack occurred at the Methodist Hospital in Henderson, KY just last week, and has been identified as the Locky virus, as it locks everyone out of the infected computer system.
- The hijacking of an EgyptAir plane ended peacefully yesterday afternoon, as the alleged hijacker surrendered just after several people were seen fleeing the aircraft, one through a cockpit window. Police are still unsure of the hijacker's motives, although the President of Cyprus has indicated it was not terror related. Some reports indicate that the hijacker, Seif Eldin Mustafa, wished to talk to an estranged wife in Cyprus and others said he was seeking the release of female Egyptian prisoners.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Tuesday that the Ebola epidemic no longer an international public health emergency. An emergency committee submitted recommendations to Dr. Margaret Chan, director general, indicating the West African nations were capable of handling the small number of cases that may arise. Dr. Chan accepted the recommendations, asking that nations with travel and trade bans to the affected countries immediately lift those bans. However, hundreds of WHO employees will remain in the West African countries to assist with the rapid detection of any flare-ups.
- A women in Mississippi, Daelyn Young, has pled guilty to charges of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. Young, the daughter of a police officer, recently converted to Islam and was studying chemistry as a sophomore. Her finance, Muhammed Oda Dakhlalla, who pled guilty to the same charges last month, awaits sentencing in the custody of the U. S. Marshal Service. Dakhlalla has a degree in Psychology from Mississippi State University and is the son of a local imam.
- In a statement early Wednesday, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon urged nations across the globe to accept nearly half a million Syrian refugees over the next three years for resettlement. Currently, the United Nations is attempting to resettle approximately 10 percent of the refugees, about 480,000 people, in neighboring countries by 2018, but is faced with trying to overcome widespread fears and political bickering. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, is calling for a more humane and organized effort from the international community. So far, almost 5 million people have fled Syria to escape the now 5-year conflict which has also killed more than 250,000 people.
- Apple is now concerned that the FBI was able to hack the iPhone of alleged terrorist Sayed Farook. The announcement by the FBI is puzzling since the government has supported firm recommendations for nearly twenty years that it would work with software manufacturing companies cooperatively and confidentially regarding software security issues. This was to be sure that the American public was protected online as much as possible before revealing any products that may have security issues for hackers to exploit. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, stated "This is the FBI prioritizing an investigation over the interests of hundreds of millions of people worldwide."