Before this week, there’s a good chance many were unfamiliar with ransomware attacks. Knowledge is quickly available through simple internet searches to learn these sorts of attacks carried out by terrorists are a major problem. The trend has become so significant the FBI several years ago created a unit of experts to investigate the cases and many large companies now have cyber security insurance and legal firms on retainer in the case of an emergency.
Atlantic General Hospital discovered last weekend it had suffered a major “ransomware event” that was impacting operations. Hospital officials have been working around the clock with the FBI and security experts to mitigate the issues associated with the disruption. Details were understandably difficult for the public to understand and digest this week, as the situation was fluid and evolving. Understandable concerns heard throughout the community revolve around patient privacy and financial security while the hospital works through network outages while caring for patients. A couple days after AGH’s attack, a pro-Russian activist group KillNet took credit for taking down ChristianaCare’s website through a “distributed denial-of-service attack.” This same hacker group hit U.S. airport websites in the fall. It’s unclear if this group is to blame for AGH’s incident.
The FBI dedicates a number of resources on its website to internet crimes and ransomware attacks specifically. A part of the website reads, “The FBI does not support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack. Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee you or your organization will get any data back. It also encourages perpetrators to target more victims and offers an incentive for others to get involved in this type of illegal activity.” Nonetheless, it’s clear many health systems across the country have settled with these terrorists because it’s found to be the quickest fix.
In some cases, and they do appear to be the minority of incidents, the FBI makes arrests in these ransomware attacks. Last November, a Russian and Canadian national was charged after participating in a LockBit global ransomware that demanded $100 million in ransom from over 1,000 victims in 2020. No update to the case is available but at the time FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy stated, “Cyber criminals who damage protected systems, exploit privileged information, or hold for ransom important files and data are a threat to our way of life. The FBI will not stand idly by while companies and government entities are bled dry or while their systems are corrupted by these criminal opportunists. We will utilize every tool in our arsenal – including our global partnerships – to shut down these types of schemes.”
A remarkable rescue took place over about eight hours Wednesday at the Atlantic Concrete plant in Dagsboro. A timeline of the situation best describes the incident courtesy of Shore News Beacon, which posted scanner updates of the situation.
About a dozen agencies responded about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday for a “confined space rescue” of a worker in a concrete sand bin 50 feet in the air. As many as eight rescue personnel were in the hole working to rescue the worker while multiple ladder trucks were in position. About noon, aviation transportation was alerted to respond but aborted the mission due to weather concerns. About 1:21 p.m., it was reported rescue extrication was about 40% complete with aviation transport now able to fly. Patient is reported as conscious and alert at 2:35 p.m. but trapped to the waist. At 3:02 p.m., a secondary collapse is reported with all rescue personnel accounted for and victim trapped further. At 4:30 p.m., progress was reported with only the victim’s feet now trapped. At 5:04 p.m., patient reported to be conscious and stable transported to Christiana for care by aviation. It was an incredible team rescue with no injuries reported.
On a personal note, 25 years is a long time. Last May, I passed my silver work anniversary at this paper. Due to the nature of the business, the milestone passed largely unnoticed because the workload, specifically the next daily deadline, is always the focus in this industry.
During college, 1993-1997, I worked here during the summer months, learning the whole business, including sales, delivery, production, accounting, photography and reporting. I never had this conversation with my stepfather, founding publisher Dick Lohmeyer, who passed in 2005, but I surmise all these years later the goal was to throw it all at me to see if I would stick with it. I am still here.
I continue to learn something new each day, but above all this job has taught me the value of hard work. Working in a newspaper is not a glamorous job. The profession involves hard work, long hours, undervalued service and constant pressure to meet multiple deadlines each week. All of us who successfully work here have a tremendous work ethic and use it to accomplish the weekly goal of publishing the best product we can for our community. Famed NFL coach Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a teamwork, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” The message is particularly apt when it comes to creating a publication each week.
Twenty-five years after I started working full-time here at 21, the fact each week is different is my favorite aspect of my job as a newspaper editor. I’m looking forward to continuing in the years to come.