(ETH) – The FBI is warning that cybercriminals are unleashing an onslaught of data-scrambling ransomware attack attempts against the U.S. healthcare system which is designed to lock up hospital information systems. This type of attack could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of COVID-19 are spiking.
According to a report from CBN News, A recent joint alert given on Wednesday revealed the FBI and two federal agencies warning that they had “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to hospitals in the US and healthcare providers.” The disturbing alert stated that malicious groups are attempting to target the sector with attacks that produce “data theft and disruption of healthcare services.”
These cyber-attacks involve ransomware, which is designed to scrambles data into gibberish that can only be unlocked with software keys provided once targets pay a ransom given by the perpetrators. Independent security experts have revealed that it has already seen this type of attack strike at least five U.S. hospitals this week, and could potentially impact hundreds more in the future. CBN revealed:
“The offensive by a Russian-speaking criminal gang coincides with the U.S. 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.
The type of attack that is being launched is a strain of ransomware known as Ryuk, which is seeded through a network of zombie computers called Trickbot that Microsoft. Officials had already begun trying to counter these types of attacks back earlier in October and 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 state that criminals have still been finding ways around it to spread Ryuk. What’s more disturbing in this report is the fact that the U.S. has apparently seen a plague of ransomware over the past 18 months or so, with major cities in the US from Baltimore to Atlanta being impacted and local governments and schools have been struck especially hard.