Sonoma Valley Hospital has been forced to change its URL after hackers took control of its 3-letter domain name.
On August 6, 2019, at 6:30 pm, hackers hijacked the svh.com domain and blocked the hospital’s access to the domain.
Shortly after the attack, the hospital issued a statement saying that there was no possibility for the domain to be retaken from the hackers and the hospital had taken a decision to move their website to a new domain.
The hospital URL and email accounts have now been migrated to sonomavalleyhospital.org. Patients have been advised to update their contact details for the hospital as emails sent to email addresses on the old domain are not being received. The full transfer to the new domain was complete on August 13.
The hackers did not attempt to steal any patient information during the attack. However, patients are still at risk of being sent phishing emails from the old Sonoma Valley Hospital domain. As it appears to be from a legitimate sender, it is highly likely that some individuals could fall victim to these attacks.
Hospital CEO Kelly Matherstated: “The hijacking of our domain name was surprising, and we are finding out, not unusual for highly valuable three-letter domain names such as ‘svh.com.'”
Mather further stated “are taking every step to increase our visibility using the new domain sonomavalleyhospital.org as quickly as possible” to reduce the risk of individuals falling for phishing campaigns.
Due to the change in domain, the hospital will have to change all printed material, including business cards, letterheads, marketing material, and branding. Organisations often have to pay significant sums for short three-letter domain names, so the loss of ‘svh.org‘ is significant, let alone the cost of changing all of their material.
While the domain is now recorded as in the hands of ‘pirates’, due to the price tag associated with such a domain name, it is likely to be resold at some point.
The new contact details for the hospital are as follows: sonomavalleyhospital.org (web) and @sonomavalleyhospital.org (email).