Ransomware Hits Healthcare, Again!


Since years, cyberattacks have been targeting a specific industry – HEALTHCARE!

As pointed out in our OAIC’s Quarterly Breach Statistics Report, healthcare experienced a dramatically higher number of cyber incidents with about 47 (19 percent) notifiable data breaches within the short period of 1st April to 30th June 2019.

Unfortunately, these crimes are giving no signs of diminishing; they continue to rock global information security systems, confirming that they are a plague that is here to stay forever!

This time, the deadly ransomware attack targeted the IT systems of hospitals and health services in the Victoria state of Australia.

 The Victorian Cyber Incident

The-Victorian-Cyber-IncidentIt was on September 30-2019, the regional Victorian hospitals and health services were infiltrated by a few sophisticated cybercriminals.

Hospitals in the Gippsland Health Alliance and the South West Alliance of Rural Health, are included in the affected ones.

Though we are not quite sure about how the intruders obtained access, their techniques were capable of causing serious disruptions – including hindering access to several major systems, like financial management.

The consortiums had to disconnect many operations connected to the internet – such as patient records, booking and management systems – to “restrain the infection”.

In fact, this is one of the worst-case scenarios, where patient care is severely affected!

 Ransomware In Healthcare – The History

Ransomware-In-Healthcare-The-HistoryEver since we started to use computers for the first time in the world of healthcare, ransomware attacks aimed at this sector also started to loom.

The first one, called the “AIDS virus”, which dates back to 1989, was a prudent attack intended at doctors and people in the healthcare domain.

Even if years have passed and technology has improved, most healthcare industry players still do not do anything ahead of compliance. 

And the results? 

Nothing other than crippling outcomes like permanent health damage for the individual or even loss of life, and reputational damage for organizations!

 So, Now What?

With the growth of the interconnected world of computers and the rise of cryptocurrency, cybercriminals have become much better in their ways of reaping as much return as possible from their investments. So, organizations should carefully plan ahead and must be proactive, to alleviate the dangerous risks posed by cyberattacks.

Being equipped with email and gateway defenses will considerably lessen the initial hits of phishing; however, extremely strict controls around privileged accounts are required to keep attackers away from maintaining a persistent presence inside the network and spreading the ransomware. A strong response strategy capable of mitigating the spreading of malicious attacks and ensuring reliable back-ups will drastically reduce the overall impact caused by a ransomware attack.

Need more help on this? Get in touch with Cybernetic Global Intelligence (CGI) – an Aussie cybersecurity company with years of experience in the domain!

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