Ransomware Attacks Against Hospitals on the Rise

A warning advisory issued by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on October 28, 2020 notes an increase in attacks on healthcare systems and providers. Co-authored by CISA, the FBI, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the advisory warns that the three agencies “have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to US hospitals and healthcare providers,” and “are sharing this information to provide warning to healthcare providers to ensure that they take timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats.” Several hospitals, including the University of Vermont Medical Center and the Sky Lakes Medical Center in Oregon, have confirmed being targeted by cyberattacks.

Ransomware is malicious software that is surreptitiously installed on a computer to encrypt files on the computer; the criminals will then demand a ransom be paid by the victim, usually in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, to provide the means of decrypting and restoring access to the data. Per security software/hardware company Sophos, the average cost around the world of remediating a ransomware attack is over $750,000, taking into consideration downtime, staff hours, the ransom payment, and other factors.

CISA’s director, Chris Krebs, additionally warned healthcare organizations’ executives to “be ready to activate business continuity and disaster recovery plans.” Multi-factor authentication and a robust and tested backup strategy are also essential to strengthening security and mitigating cyberattacks. Let Microwize’s secure cloud infrastructure and managed IT services bring you peace of mind by addressing these concerns for you; contact us today at 800-955-0321.