Trending

Stories

FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US healthcare system

Tidio Live Chat Software - Add Tidio live chat software to your website in minutes. Contact visitors and turn them into happy customers. Enhance their experience and boost your sales. Get it for Free

WP Rocket - WordPress Caching Plugin

Must Read

Federal agencies warned that cybercriminals are unleashing a wave of data-scrambling extortion attempts against the US healthcare system designed to lock up hospital information systems, which could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of COVID-19 are spiking.

In a joint alert Wednesday, the FBI and two federal agencies warned that they had credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to US hospitals and healthcare providers. The alert said malicious groups are targeting the sector with attacks that produce data theft and disruption of healthcare services.”

Also Read

The cyberattacks involve ransomware, which scrambles data into gibberish that can only be unlocked with software keys provided once targets pay up. Independent security experts say it has already hobbled at least five US hospitals this week, and could potentially impact hundreds more.

The offensive by a Russian-speaking criminal gang coincides with the US presidential election, although there is no immediate indication they were motivated by anything but profit. We are experiencing the most significant cybersecurity threat we’ve ever seen in the United States, Charles Carmakal, chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said in a statement.

Elegant Themes - The most popular WordPress theme in the world and the ultimate WordPress Page Builder. Get a 30-day money-back guarantee. Get it for Free

Alex Holden, CEO of Hold Security, which has been closely tracking the ransomware in question for more than a year, agreed that the unfolding offensive is unprecedented in magnitude for the U.S. given its timing in the heat of a contentions presidential election and the worst global pandemic in a century.

The federal alert was co-authored by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The cybercriminals launching the attacks use a strain of ransomware known as Ryuk, which is seeded through a network of zombie computers called Trickbot that Microsoft began trying to counter earlier in October. U.S. Cyber Command has also reportedly taken action against Trickbot. While Microsoft has had considerable success knocking its command-and-control servers offline through legal action, analysts say criminals have still been finding ways to spread Ryuk.

The U.S. has seen a plague of ransomware over the past 18 months or so, with major cities from Baltimore to Atlanta hit and local governments and schools hit especially hard.

In September, a ransomware attack hobbled all 250 U.S. facilities of the hospital chain Universal Health Services, forcing doctors and nurses to rely on paper and pencil for record-keeping and slowing lab work. Employees described chaotic conditions impeding patient care, including mounting emergency room waits and the failure of wireless vital-signs monitoring equipment.

Also in September, the first known fatality related to ransomware occurred in Duesseldorf, Germany, when an IT system failure forced a critically ill patient to be routed to a hospital in another city.

Holden said he alerted federal law enforcement Friday after monitoring infection attempts at a number of hospitals, some of which may have beaten back infections. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He said the group was demanding ransoms well above 10 million per target and that criminals involved on the dark web were discussing plans to try to infect more than 400 hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities.

One of the comments from the bad guys is that they are expecting to cause panic and, no, they are not hitting election systems, Holden said. They are hitting where it hurts even more and they know it. U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed concern about major ransomware attacks affecting the presidential election, even if the criminals are motivated chiefly by profit.

Mandiant’s Carmakal identified the criminal gang as UNC1878, saying it is deliberately targeting and disrupting U.S. hospitals, forcing them to divert patients to other healthcare providers and producing prolonged delays in critical care.

He called the eastern European group one of most brazen, heartless, and disruptive threat actors I’ve observed over my career. While no one has proven suspected ties between the Russian government and gangs that use the Trickbot platform, Holden said he has no doubt that the Russian government is aware of this operation of terrorism, really. He said dozens of different criminal groups use Ryuk, paying its architects a cut.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and former chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, said there are certainly lot of connections between Russian cyber criminals and the state,” with Kremlin-employed hackers sometimes moonlighting as cyber criminals.

Neither Holden nor Carmakal would identify the affected hospitals. Four healthcare institutions have been reported hit by ransomware so far this week, three belonging to the St. Lawrence County Health System in upstate New York and the Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Sky Lakes acknowledged the ransomware attack in an online statement, saying it had no evidence that patient information was compromised. It said emergency and urgent care remain available. The St. Lawrence system did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

iThemes WordPress Hosting

Stay updated

Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss an update on the latest tech, gaming, startup, how to guide, deals and more.

Latest

Stories

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest

Grow Your Business

Place your brand in front of tech-savvy audience. Partner with us to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, generate qualified leads, and grow your business.

- Advertisement -

Grow Your Business

Get these business solutions, tools and services to help your business grow.
Elementor

Elementor -Join 5,000,000+ Professionals Who Build Better Sites With Elementor. Build your website with 100% visual design that loads faster and speeds up the process of building them.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket - Speed up your website with the most powerful caching plugin in the world. The website speed increase means better SEO ranking, user experience, and conversation. It’s a fact that Google loves a fast site.

Kinsta

Kinsta - If you are looking for WordPress managed hosting, Kinsta is in the leading front. Kinsta provides WordPress hosting for a small or large business that helps take care of all your needs regarding your website with cutting-edge technology.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster - Instantly boost leads and grow revenue with the #1 most powerful conversion optimization toolkit in the world. 700,000+ websites are using OptinMonster to turn their traffic into leads, subscribers, and sales.

Related

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
ChatGPT Reaches 100 Million Users in Two Months Microsoft’s Teams Get OpenAI-Based Features WhatsApp New Feature that Allows Users to Create Calling Shortcuts Instagram Working On Twitter-like Paid Verification Feature OnePlus Ace 2 Specs Exposed Online Realme GT Neo 5 Full Specs Revealed  Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: The New Android King Twitter To End Free API February 9 MLS Season Pass Now Available On Apple TV App Tesla To Increase Giga Shanghai EV Production to 20,000 Weekly 
OpenAI Releases Tool To Detect AI-generated Text Tesla Records Double Net Profit in 2022 India to Produce Upcoming iPhones: Trade Minister Japanese Professor Developed A Power Semiconductor made of Diamond Google Releases New Product for India’s Merchants Indian EV Startup Unveil Two AutoBalancing Electric Scooters OPPO Find X6 Pro Images Render via Weibo Sony Develops New Tech to Reduce Noise of Image Sensors