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Dems seek hearing on healthcare cybersecurity

Dems seek hearing on healthcare cybersecurity
© Greg Nash

Two Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee are seeking a hearing on healthcare cybersecurity following the outbreak of the Wanna Cry "ransomware" attack. 

Reps. Cedric Richmond (La.) and Donald Payne Jr. (N.J.) sent a letter to committee leadership to schedule the hearing to make sure that the healthcare sector and emergency services like 911 can withstand a cyberattack. 

The pair noted that around the world, Wanna Cry's impact included disrupting patient care. One of the first high-profile victims of the malware was the United Kingdom's National Health Service, which reportedly had to turn patients away. 

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"In the wake of this event, we believe it is crucial that our subcommittees hold a hearing to examine the cybersecurity posture of our healthcare sector, and the security and resilience of emergency services, emergency communications, transportation and energy systems upon which the healthcare sector relies," wrote the congressmen. 

The letter lists additional fears for cyberattack besides something mimicking Wanna Cry, including targeted attacks on 911 call centers or the electric grid. 

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a target's files, with the attacker only providing a decryption key after a ransom is paid, usually in bitcoins.