Healthcare facilities are currently a favorite target of criminals who use ransomware (aka malicious software) to launch attacks.
These disruptive attacks – which lock up systems and demand the victim pay a ransom in cryptocurrency in exchange for regaining access – can disable endpoints and encrypt critical files that include essential information for patient care.
Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations also tie up hundreds of IT staff hours responding and recovering, impact multiple branches and clinics, and damage hard-earned business reputations.
Numerous healthcare facilities were attacked in the last year, including one incident in Germany that lead to a death when ransomware locked systems and a patient needing critical care was turned away. Amid a global pandemic, the stakes are even higher. Once the pandemic outbreak began, attacks on healthcare organizations grew, says Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos.