71% increase in ransomware attacks in healthcare sector in October 2020

A CheckPoint Security blog details the trend of hackers targeting healthcare providers
ransomware attack
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Following the joint advisory issued by three federal agencies, CheckPoint Security published a report about the trend of hackers targeting healthcare providers. According to the report, this trend continued in Q4 2020, as October experienced several large-scale attacks against the global health industry. The number of ransomware attacks against hospitals in the US in October increased by 71%, compared to the previous month. 

CheckPoint also noted that the regions of APAC and EMEA recorded an increase of 33% and 36%, respectively in hospital ransomware attacks. The increase in APAC attacks is attributed to Singapore (133%) and India (20%). Additionally, Germany and Belgium in the EMEA had a 200% rise in ransomware attacks in October. 

CheckPoint saw a 50% increase in average daily ransomware attacks in Q3 2020, compared to the first six months of the year. In this period, attacks in the US grew by 200%. 

The US federal advisory warned healthcare providers about imminent cyberattacks in the healthcare sector. However, CheckPoint affirmed that its job did not include establishing the prospect of future attacks. It did however work towards mitigating and engaging with every detected threat.

CheckPoint’s proprietary Threat Prevention technology detects, stores, and analyses all necessary data for the company. CheckPoint Research, the company’s research wing, provides sharp AI-powered search engines along with exclusive research data.

Why hackers are targeting hospitals

The reason for the sharp uptick in ransomware attacks on hospitals is simple – the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to kick the healthcare industry when it is at its lowest, hackers have decided to take advantage of the global pandemic situation. 

While many ransomware groups initially agreed to not harm hospitals, some of these groups doubled down on their promises soon. Often, these hospitals struggle to make the necessary payments, which encourages ransomware groups to invent new effective ways of hacking. This can have a detrimental effect on patients.

General awareness is the best move for mitigating a ransomware attack. Knowing that an attack doesn’t directly begin with ransomware, users must be cautious about checking malicious emails. These emails may be delivering a phishing threat like Emotet or TrickBot, which often lead to major ransomware attacks. 

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