Fans of medical dramas are rarely without a great show to watch. NBC has a relatively young one in Chicago Med, which premiered in the fall of 2015. It's one of four shows in the Chicago franchise, alongside Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Justice. This week, viewers will get a look at what happens when Gaffney Chicago Medical Center gets hit with ransomware, which is the most damaging cyber threat we've seen in recent years.
Of course, our friends at the fictional hospital are hardly the first to have been hit with ransomware: there were 14 real hospitals infected in 2016. If the Chicago franchise follows real-life examples, then we'll see the fire department, police department, and the courts get hit with ransomware too.
Ransomware is a real threat to governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals. Check out these Ransomware numbers from last year:
- Nearly 50% of organizations have been infected with ransomware
- Companies paid $209 million to ransomware criminals in Q1 2016
- More than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred every day since January 2016, up from 1,000 per day in 2015
- In 2017, attacks are expected to double 2016 numbers
And most businesses that were infected with ransomware faced at least two days of downtime to recover from the attack.
Obviously, hospitals can't afford two days of downtime.
The entertainment industry has been helping keep digital threats and cyber security in the thoughts of the public. Shows like Mr. Robot, Black Mirror, and CSI: Cyber are bringing ransomware and hacking into the spotlight, which can be a good thing for those of us working to improve the security posture of individuals and organizations across the globe. Hopefully, Chicago Med will give us a realistic look at what happens when life-saving technology is held hostage.
Chicago Med airs on NBC in the US Thursdays at 9/8c. You can view episodes online at the Chicago Med website here.