Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security //


// // //
09:35 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now

Ransomware Attacks Against Healthcare Increased in 2017

A Cylance report looking at the threat landscape of 2017 found that the healthcare industry took the brunt of ransomware attacks.

The healthcare industry was the target of several ransomware-related cyber attacks in 2017, as attackers created ways to profit off each major incident, according to a report released this week.

Overall, ransomware attacks grew three fold from 2016 to 2017, according to Cylance's 2017 Threat Report, which is based on data that the company collected between January and December 2017.

While it was the healthcare industry that took the lion's share on ransomware attacks, Cylance's examination of its data showed that the food and beverage industry sustained the highest volume of attacks last year.

\r\n(Source: Creative Commons Images)\r\n

\r\n(Source: Creative Commons Images)\r\n

Overall, Cylance looked at 10 of the most destructive ransomware attacks that happened in 2017, which included WannaCry, Upatre, Cerber, Emotet, Locky, Petya, Ramnit, Fareit, PolyRansom and Terdot/Zloade. These same attacks also featured prominently in another list of attacks during that 12-month period. (See Kaspersky Names WannaCry 'Vulnerability of the Year'.)

One name left off the list was SamSam or Samas, a self-sufficient ransomware attack that doesn't rely on command and control systems, and has been invading different hospitals and healthcare organizations for several years. A variant of this malware has also been linked to a recent cyberattack in Atlanta. (See SamSam Ransomware Continues Making Hospitals Sick.)

Driving almost all of this, unsurprisingly, is profit.

The Cylance report notes a rise in the number of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) attacks, which is making these types of cyber attacks easier to pull off, and also profitable to a larger group of criminals.

"With commoditized malware, malicious scripts, and new attack delivery methods available, it is now easier than ever before for anyone with minimal attacker skills to initiate targeted attacks," according to the report.

The fundamentals of network security are being redefined -- don't get left in the dark by a DDoS attack! Join us in Austin from May 14-16 at the fifth-annual Big Communications Event. There's still time to register and communications service providers get in free!

This trend of "as-a-service" attack is continuing into this year, with recent reports that the Rubella Macro Builder crimeware kit dropped from the previous price of $500 to rent to as low as $40. (See Rubella Macro Builder Crimeware Kit Price Drops to $40.)

However, despite the rise of ransomware, as well as other types of attack including crypto jacking and crypto mining schemes, the top two infections targeting the enterprise remain email and drive-by downloads.

While the types of attacks are getting more sophisticated, the Cylance report found that many of the tried-and-true methods of preventing a breach or a cyberattack still hold true. These include:

  • Keeping hardware and software updated
  • Managing access and permissions within the enterprise infrastructure
  • Limiting and monitoring remote access
  • Employee training to help people identify social engineering and phishing schemes
  • Physical security around critical infrastructure

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Practical Network Security Approaches for a Multicloud, Hybrid IT World
The report covers areas enterprises should focus on for their multicloud/hybrid cloud security strategy: -increase visibility over the environment -learning cloud-specific skills -relying on established security frameworks -re-architecting the network
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2022-05-09
RARLAB UnRAR before 6.12 on Linux and UNIX allows directory traversal to write to files during an extract (aka unpack) operation, as demonstrated by creating a ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file. NOTE: WinRAR and Android RAR are unaffected.
PUBLISHED: 2022-05-09
In Solana rBPF versions 0.2.26 and 0.2.27 are affected by Incorrect Calculation which is caused by improper implementation of sdiv instruction. This can lead to the wrong execution path, resulting in huge loss in specific cases. For example, the result of a sdiv instruction may decide whether to tra...
PUBLISHED: 2022-05-08
ImageMagick 7.1.0-27 is vulnerable to Buffer Overflow.
PUBLISHED: 2022-05-08
marcador package in PyPI 0.1 through 0.13 included a code-execution backdoor.
PUBLISHED: 2022-05-08
NULL Pointer Dereference in function vim_regexec_string at regexp.c:2729 in GitHub repository vim/vim prior to 8.2.4901. NULL Pointer Dereference in function vim_regexec_string at regexp.c:2729 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via a crafted input.