The Rising Threat of Ransomware Attacks on Hospitals

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FUD  /fəd/ noun

  1. fear, uncertainty and doubt, influencing perception by disseminating negative and dubious information and a manifestation of the appeal to fear.

The Rising Threat of Ransomware in the Healthcare Industry

For years, selling cyber security was sort of like selling insurance in that its value was predicated on the “what if.” However, while people are generally aware of what happens in a storm or an auto accident, most customers were not aware of the dangers that threat actors posed. When selling solutions, vendors would need to educate customers on who hackers were, their motivations, their tools, why they attacked, and the ways they succeeded. Most of the time, it was a “doom and gloom” scenario meant to show companies the very real danger that was lurking right outside their network. FUD was a necessary part of that message.

Today, traditional security vendors don’t necessarily need to explain the potential devastation that can occur in the event of a successful hacking attack, because the results make the headlines every day. There are government regulations and audits and entire teams dedicated to keeping the network and its resources safe. Hackers come up with a new attack, traditional security vendors develop a way to protect from it. They seem to be locked in a never ending game of Spy vs. Spy.

That is, until this September.

This September, the nightmare FUD scenario became a reality. This September, the fact that Healthcare has been in the crosshairs of the cyber criminal community came into full focus.

German police have launched a homicide investigation after a woman died during a ransomware attack on a hospital. If confirmed, it would be the first known case of a life being lost as a result of a cyber attack. I think we can all agree that it is one life too many. I think we can also all agree that we have entered a dangerous new age of threat actors and hacking.

According to the BBC article, the hackers who initiated the attack against the Düsseldorf University Hospital claimed they were targeting a different university. Once the hackers had realized their mistake it is reported they gave the hospital the decryption key without demanding payment (and before disappearing). However, a life has been lost and a family has been destroyed. The perpetrators who were just looking to make an extra buck will now spend the rest of their lives on the run….or in jail.

Unfortunately it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. These attacks are devastating. It’s not just money at stake. It’s not just someone’s powerpoint presentation. There are livelihoods….and lives. This is not just FUD. This is the real world. 

There are lots of examples or statistics showing the growing challenge of cyber threats targeting the Healthcare Industry. Somehow, the loss of life seems to trump them all.

Just know that we can help.

Check out our latest Healthcare Datasheet to learn how.