A ransomware attack on Scripps Health that began last weekend had the health care provider scrambling to regain access to vital electronic records that had been targeted by malicious software. Reports showed Scripps hospitals were getting by through use of “established back-up processes” to keep patients safe at its five hospitals and 19 outpatient clinics in San Diego County. But some seeking care were sent to other facilities, and ambulances were also being diverted from Scripps sites. Scripps appears determined to solve the problem with the assistance of an independent cybersecurity contractor and law enforcement, and to not pay the ransom sought by hackers.

Yet this shouldn’t just be a wake-up call for local medical providers. It should be a wake-up call for all of those with any clout, only starting with lawmakers, who don’t realize the profound vulnerabilities of an increasingly networked world. This threat is likely going to grow as network technology keeps improving and hackers grow more skilled.

A version of this editorial first ran in The San Diego Union-Tribune.