Days after it was revealed a hacker successfully compromised the Virginia Health database and stole records of more than 8 million patients; the state of Virginia announced it will not pay a requested $10 million ransom.
The database is used by pharmacies and doctors to track narcotics and painkiller prescriptions, in an attempt to reduce the amount of abuse, theft and illegal sales of popular prescription drugs.
Both the Virginia state police and FBI are looking into the matter, with Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine saying this is a "crime and it is being treated that way."
The state has refused to pay the ransom, and will instead rely on the FBI's investigation to locate and prosecute the people responsible for this data intrusion.
Since the breach last week, the Department of Health Professions shut down its computer network, and all data has been successfully backed up. The DHP has issued a statement saying it can "assure the public that all precautions are being taken for DHP operations to continue safely and securely."
Hackers’ attempts to steal personal information or hold data for ransom has increased in popularity, with hackers routinely stealing Social Security Numbers and other personal information so it can be sold to identity thieves. There is a growing concern over foreign-based hacker groups that are bankrolled by countries such as China and Russia, who are targeting U.S.-based computer networks.
The FBI hasn't said if they believe this data intrusion to be the work of foreign hackers, but it's a link they're likely looking into during the investigation.