.Hero & Zero: A whistleblower & computer hackers

By Nikki Silverstein

Hero: H planned to pick up some fresh veggies and fruit from the Mill Valley Farmers’ Market on a recent Friday and get on with her day. Simple enough, right? Sure, unless a man hits your car in the parking lot while you’re shopping and slithers away without leaving a note. Enter our heroine, who witnessed the hit-and-run and stuck around to inform H who had damaged her vehicle. The culprit was easy to find because he never left the scene of the crime. Instead, he parked in the same lot and went shopping. Thanks to the observant whistleblower, the $800 repair bill to fix H’s car was covered by the man’s insurance. Scofflaws beware: If there’s not a camera nearby, there might be a good neighbor.

Zero: Computer hackers targeted a Novato company that provides medical billing and management services for healthcare providers and created havoc for their clients. Marin Medical Practice Concepts’ data was held hostage by a ransomware attack and was eventually released upon the company’s payment of an undisclosed amount of money. The data-napping, which occurred late last month, prevented some Marin doctors from accessing their patients’ electronic records. (Yowza, that could have been dangerous.) Although both ransomware and data thefts are on the rise in the health-care industry, Marin Medical Practice Concepts reports that the breach did not compromise the private information of individuals. If only the scoundrels behind the attacks would use their admirable skills to help cure cancer or stop ISIS, we’d forgive them.

Pacific Sun
The Pacific Sun publishes every Wednesday, delivering 21,000 copies to 520 locations throughout Marin County.

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