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Cybersecurity Healthcare Crime on The Rise

01.06.21

In recent months, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals have been focusing incredibly hard on the healthcare field.


Cybersecurity Healthcare Crime on The Rise

November 12, 2020


In recent months, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals have been focusing incredibly hard on the healthcare field. According to the Associated Press, "Federal agencies warned that cybercriminals are unleashing a wave of data-scrambling extortion attempts against the U.S. healthcare system designed to lock up hospital information systems, which could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of COVID-19 are spiking." The Associated Press commented that "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 U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers."' The Associated Press made clear that "The alert said malicious groups are targeting the sector with attacks that produce "data theft and disruption of healthcare services."' As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, so do the number of cybercrimes and these individuals' malicious attempts. 

Cybercrimes are not just stealing or accessing patient information; the Associated Press states that "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." These cybercrimes can crumble an already heavily taxed system. According to the Associated Press, a significant ransomware attack also occurred in September, stating that "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." These cybercrimes are serious and can endanger many lives. 


The CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) released a statement commenting on these cybercrimes stating that "CISA, FBI, and HHS have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers. CISA, FBI, and HHS are sharing this information to provide a warning to healthcare providers to ensure that they take timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats." The CISA urges healthcare systems and healthcare professionals to be aware of potential threats and ransomware. 


The CISA urges individuals to report criminal activities or activities that may seem suspicious. To report a cybercrime, the CISA recommends to simply "contact your local FBI field office at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field, or the FBI's 24/7 Cyber Watch (CyWatch) at (855) 292-3937 or by email at CyWatch@fbi.gov." If you or your company are concerned about potential ransomware, Synergy Infosec offers a wide variety of tools and scanners on our easy-to-use dashboard. Synergy Infosec also provides consulting services to help fight cybercriminals.

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