COVID-19 Ransomware Piles on to Seasonal Spike

Attackers are continuing to use concerns over COVID-19 to distribute ransomware and malware, including for smartphones. The healthcare sector continues to be the largest single target of cybercriminals, and they are exploiting the current situation.

Culprits behind such attacks include cybercrime operators looking to make a fast buck as well as nation-states seeking to sow chaos. These attacks are hitting all levels of the U.S. healthcare sector. Recently the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services saw increased scanning of its network and potentially a distributed denial-of-service attack.

Expect increased attacks in the name of COVID-19, particularly against businesses involved in testing as well as hospitals and other medical practices.

There are several keys to keep in mind to help healthcare providers secure IT infrastructure in this fluid environment:
1. Verify your defenses, including monitoring and alerting capabilities
2. Keep a close eye on operational impacts of increased numbers of remote workers, possibly even your SOC.
3. Be prepared to alter your definition of normal due to modified working arrangements while mitigating security threats.

Ransomware Continues to Target Healthcare
Despite the essential role healthcare organizations are playing in fighting the pandemic, the vast majority of criminals don’t appear to have steered clear of targeting the sector with ransomware attacks. In addition to the issues presented by COVID-19, each year ransomware attacks tend to spike in the spring and summer.

According to security researchers, it is likely that there will be an increase in the number of healthcare providers impacted by ransomware in the coming months. Unfortunately, this increase may coincide with the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak. The seasonal spikes may be more pronounced than in previous years due to security weaknesses resulting from work-from-home arrangements, personal device usage and staffing shortages.

If you have questions about how you can help secure your IT infrastructure to protect against ransomware and other malicious cyber-threats, call ITPAC today.