DOJ Charges Network Security Consultant With Alleged Medical Center Cyberattack

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Vikas Singla for allegedly launching a cyberattack against Georgia-based Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) in 2018, according to an indictment. Singla is COO at Securolytics, a network security company that supports healthcare organizations.

Singla made an initial court appearance stemming from charges relating to the GMC cyberattack, The Associated Press reported. Singla pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released on an unsecured $20,000 bond.

The Singla case remains under investigation by the FBI, the DOJ stated. Singla also is scheduled to return to court on June 23, 2021.

The DOJ has charged Singla with 17 counts of intentional damage to a protected computer. Each of these counts has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

In addition, the DOJ has charged Singla with one count of obtaining information by computer from a protected computer. This carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

What Happened During the GMC Cyberattack?

Singla allegedly disrupted the GMC’s Ascom phone service and network printer service and obtained information from a Hologic R2 Digitizer digitizing device in September 2018, the DOJ asserted. Also, the DOJ indicated that Singla initiated the cyberattack partially “for purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.”

Meanwhile, GMC patients had their names, birthdates and genders released on Twitter following a security incident reported during the week of Oct. 3, 2018, the Gwinnett Daily Post noted. The FBI launched an investigation into the incident at that time.

The incident affected approximately 40 patients, a GMC spokesperson told the Daily Post. The spokesperson said the hospital did not believe patient Social Security numbers or medical information was compromised during the incident.

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