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Attacks/Breaches

6/10/2021
06:01 PM
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Healthcare Device Security Firm COO Charged With Hacking Medical Center

Vikas Singla, chief operating officer of security firm that provides products and services to the healthcare industry, faces charges surrounding a cyberattack he allegedly conducted against Duluth, Ga.-based Gwinnett Medical Center.

A shocking indictment unsealed this week by the Justice Department reveals a security vendor executive has been indicted for hacking into a Georgia medical center -- allegedly disrupting telecommunications and network printer services as well as breaking into a computer to steal information for both "commercial" and private financial gain.

Vikas Singla, 45, whose company was not named by DoJ but was described as a metro-Atlanta network security company serving the healthcare industry, has been charged with 17 counts of intentional damage to a protected computer plus one count of taking information from a protected computer.

On Sept. 27, 2018, Singla and others allegedly conducted an attack that involved transmitting a "program, information, code, and command" that ultimately disrupted and damaged Gwinnett's computers that run the phone system at one of its hospitals, as well as systems that run its network of printers for its hospitals. 

Neither the DoJ nor the grand jury indictment, dated June 8, 2021, specify details or the form of the attacks, so it's unclear how it unfolded.

"Criminal disruptions of hospital computer networks can have tragic consequences," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. "The department is committed to holding accountable those who endanger the lives of patients by damaging computers that are essential in the operation of our healthcare system."

"This cyberattack on a hospital not only could have had disastrous consequences, but patient’s personal information was also compromised," said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. 

Read the indictment here

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