The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are among the U.S. authorities warning of a coordinated Bitcoin ransomware attack on the nation’s healthcare system.
Ransomware Attack Cripples American Hospitals
Following a report from KrebsOnSecurity, an independent security news outlet, the FBI revealed that dozens of hospitals have already come under attack.
Six institutions have already been attacked in a single day last week in New York, Oregon, and California.
Sky Lakes Medical Center in Oregon was forced to delay surgeries when a Ryuk cyberattack froze their record on Oct. 27. St. Lawrence Health System in New York suffered similar attacks at two hospitals, causing them to redirect ambulances responding to emergencies.
Hundreds of hospitals may be in danger from cybercriminals spreading the Ryuk ransomware, which encrypts data on any hard drive it penetrates.
Researchers estimate that Ryuk was responsible for one-third of all global ransomware attacks in 2020. The FBI states that since its launch in 2018, Ryuk has netted $61 million in BTC. Ransomware attacks have also been used to target police stations and entire cities.
Security analyst Allan Liska of U.S. cybersecurity firm Recorded Future described the criminal activity as “a coordinated attack designed to disrupt hospitals specifically all around the country.” Liska added that while attacks have been launched each week, last week’s activity was unprecedented in scale.
Charles Carmakal, Senior vice president of cyber response firm Mandiant, said Wizard Spider was “one of the most brazen, heartless, and disruptive” groups he had seen throughout his career.