The Chief Operating Officer of an IT security company has been sued over a financially inspired cyberattack on Gwinnett Medical Center located in Lawrenceville, GA in September 2018.
Vikas Singla, 45 years old, of Marietta, GA is the COO of Securolytics, a network security firm in the metro-Atlanta region. On June 8, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Singla for allegedly getting access to the systems of the healthcare organization, disrupting its phone and network printer services, and stealing information from a Hologic R2 digitizing gadget.
The Department of Justice stated that the attack was performed, in part, for financial gain and commercial gain. Based on court documents a minimum of 10 protected computers were ruined in the incident. It is uncertain if Singla, or his IT firm, had any prior business partnership with Gwinnett Medical Center and the reason why the healthcare provider was targeted.
Singla was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on June 10, 2021 and was charged with 17 counts of causing intentional damage to a protected computer and one count of acquiring records from a secured computer. Singla is looking at a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail for each of the intentional damage to a protected computer counts and up to a jail term of 5 years for the theft of data count.
It is believed that Singla did not act alone. Based on the indictment, Singla was assisted and abetted by other people, though they haven’t been named. Singla pleaded not guilty to the allegations and has been freed on bond. There is no trial date yet.
Criminal disruptions of hospital computer networks could have terrible outcomes, mentioned Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. It is the department’s commitment to hold responsible anyone who endangers the lives of individuals by destroying computers that are needed in the work of our health care system.
This attack on a hospital not merely could have had devastating effects, but patients’ personal PHI was also compromised stated Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are driven to hold liable, those who purportedly put patients’ health and safety in danger while compelled by greed.