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Friday, November 27, 2020

Possible Surge Of Ransomware Attacks On US Hospitals, FBI Warns

As coronavirus cases continue to surge with no possible solution in the vicinity, US hospitals are now warned against possible increase of ransomware attacks by FBI officials.

The global pandemic has been going on since the beginning of this year and the healthcare system has been in the frontlines of it fighting off the rapidly increasing cases on a daily basis. However, the American healthcare system now faces a new challenge from hackers attempting to launch a series of ransomware attacks on COVID-19 hospitals. This comes at a time when the second wave of coronavirus cases was supposed to hit, according to expert analysis and reports.

FBI, CISA And HHS Warn US Health Care System Against Possible Ransomware Attack

Threat of ransomware attack on US hospitals
Threat of ransomware attack on US hospitals
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US officials are issuing alerts to all healthcare personnel to take necessary precautions to safeguard themselves from the wave of attacks. On Wednesday, FBI officials, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a joint statement warning the US healthcare system to be prepared for a series of ransomware attacks by Trickbot, the Russian botnet.

These attacks happen the same way as any other ransomware attacks. The hackers encrypt the system by hacking their computers. For them to be able to use the computer information again, they need to pay the demanded ransom. These ransoms are often severely expensive but the worst hit is if the victim decides not to pay the ransom. In 2018, Atlanta suffered from such a ransomware attack and had to pay about $2.6 million to recover their computers and documents. The ransom was $52,000 but they suffered the huge loss after refusing to pay the direct ransom.

These ransomware attacks take a heavy toll on the systems that they attack. A patient in need of urgent medical attention lost his life in Germany during ongoing deliberations regarding a ransomware attack last month.

Ransomware Attacks Take A Heavy Toll

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FBI warns healthcare officials that such attacks are possibly going to repeat as the nation moves towards the second round of coronavirus cases. All the top security agencies seem to have credible information regarding this imminent threat facing the healthcare system, mentions the agency officials in a recent statement.

Trickbot, one of the major botnets in the world is supposed to head this ransomware attack. This Russian cybercriminal-backed botnet has also been behind several data and crypto mining thefts in the past. It was taken down by major cybersecurity companies and Microsoft with the aid of a court order but couldn’t stop its threat completely. The botnet successfully resurfaced within a few days of the order.

FBI and other agencies mention the possible use of Ryuk, a dangerous ransomware strain active since 2018. Several cybersecurity agencies have reported the rapid increase of ransomware attacks in the recent past and are now working to prevent the possible ransomware attack threatening US hospitals currently.

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