Cybercriminals attack medical facilities

Central Scrutinizer

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Message to Cybercriminals: Hospitals Are Off-Limits

Blog Post by Robert K. Knake
Last updated March 17, 2020

Late Sunday evening, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was hit with a cyberattack. This is not the first time that cybercriminals have targeted the U.S. health-care system during the coronavirus pandemic. During this time of crisis, the United States should counter such efforts with all available means.

On Sunday night, the Department of Health and Human Services was hit with a cyberattack. This incident is the third in a string of cyberattacks that show malicious cyber actors are not slowing their assault on our public health system despite the global coronavirus pandemic. In the last week, the Brno University Hospital in the Czech Republic was hit with a ransomware attack and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District’s website was also taken over by cybercriminals demanding payment. In the case of the Brno University Hospital, the attack caused all surgeries to be cancelled and all incoming patients to be re-routed to a nearby hospital. cyberattacks at this time could make an already dire situation far worse.

The national security community has been slow to recognize cybercriminal groups as a national security threat. The growth in sophistication of ransomware campaigns suggests that the capabilities these groups possess are now on par with many nation states. Many people have expressed hope online that cybercriminals would empathize with those who are suffering and think twice before targeting hospitals. Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy. Their targeting of vulnerable critical infrastructure, like public health systems and hospitals, in a time of crisis demands that the threat posed by these groups be countered with the full weight that the United States can bring to bear...
 
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