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Ransomware hits dozens of hospitals in the USA in an unprecedented wave

Posted on Oct 30, 2020
Ransomware hits dozens of hospitals in the USA in an unprecedented wave

As Covid-19 infections spike in many parts of the US, malware gangs are wreaking havoc on the health care system.

A fresh wave of ransomware attacks has struck almost two dozen United States hospitals and health care organizations in recent weeks, just as Covid-19 cases spike across the US.

According to US intelligence agencies and cybersecurity professionals, the situation could soon become much worse.

On Wednesday evening, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Health and Human Services warned that there is a "an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to US hospitals and health care providers," above and beyond the wave of attacks that have already occurred. The alert points to the notorious Trickbot trojan and Ryuk ransomware as the primary hacking tools involved in the attacks. Security analysts at private companies say that the activity is tied to the Russian criminal gang sometimes called UNC 1878 or Wizard Spider.

Ransomware actors have for years targeted hospitals, because locking up a health care organization's digital systems can threaten patient care and create maximum urgency to pay up and recover. More recently, both rate of infections against the industry and the demands themselves have exploded; antivirus firm Emsisoft found that the average ransomware ask has increased from about $5,000 in 2018 to about $200,000 this year, with multimillion-dollar demands becoming increasingly common. Last month, the provider Universal Health Services was hit with a Ryuk attack that rippled through its 250 US hospitals and clinics, crippling digital services and impacting facilities around the country.

Even so, the current spree of infections marks an alarming shift in how aggressive financially motivated ransomware groups have become, and how far they're willing to go.

Full article on https://www.wired.com/story/ransomware-hospitals-ryuk-trickbot/

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