Ransomware targets US health care system

According to the FBI, cybercriminals are targeting US health care systems with ransomware that if attacks should penetrate their firewall and security could encrypt patient data that hospitals use for patient care.

With COVID-19 cases spiking in certain areas around the country, hospitals are considered a target in the latest attacks. The FBI and other federal agencies warned that they had “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to US hospitals and health care providers.”

Ransomware attacks have been increasing in several industry sectors around the U.S. When a company or organization gets hit with ransomware, the virus encrypts some or all of the files on a server with a key known only to the cyber criminals. Then the cyber criminals will reach out to the company or organization with a demand for money in order to gain access to the key to decrypt the files.

One of the latest attacks in September crippled all 250 U.S facilities of the hospital chain Universal Health Services. The doctors and nurses were forced to use paper and pencil in order to keep records. This really made conditions extremely difficult for patient care. Employees described the conditions as impeding patient care and causing delays in lab work, emergency room waits and causing failures in vital signs equipment.

Alex Holden, CEO of Hold Security, has been closely monitoring and tracking the ransomware said some of the cyber criminal groups were demanding ransoms well above $10 million per target, and criminals on the dark web were already talking about infecting more than 400 other hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities.

Ransomware can target any organization at any time. It is important that you remain proactive instead of reactive because if you have to act after it happens, it may be too late. There are a lot of things that need to happen in order for the ransomware to completely infect your network, but these can be prevented with a proactive approach. At ITG, we have partnered with several companies to bring together a solution that helps to prevent infection by ransomware and other viruses in the wild. For more information, please reach out to us by clicking the contact navigation link at the top of this site.