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July-August 2021 - Volume 66 - Issue 4

  • Eric Ford, PhD, MPH
  • 1096-9012
  • 1944-7396
  • 6 issues per year
  • 1.507

From the July/August Issue...

We live in interesting times, to be sure, and by interesting, I mean strange. Recently, hackers took Colonial Pipeline’s information technology hostage. In exchange for returning control of the pipeline to the company, the hackers ransomed the code to restore services. The interruption in operations caused much of the Eastern United States to experience a brief shortage of gasoline. Services were restored after the company paid the ransom.

Taking hostages for ransom is as old as time itself. Julius Caesar was taken hostage by pirates. During his captivity, he arranged to have his kidnappers’ demands not only met but exceeded because he felt he merited a greater amount than they requested. Once freed, Caesar raised a navy, hunted the kidnappers down, and had them crucified. These two examples—Colonial Pipeline and Julius Caesar—give us everything we need to know about extortion and how to deal with it. And yet, healthcare is different.​

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