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 //

Ransomware

1/22/2018
09:05 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

SamSam Ransomware Continues Making Hospitals Sick

SamSam or Samas continues to surface in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The way the ransomware works shows how vulnerable healthcare is to these particular types of attacks.

SamSam, which also goes by the name Samas, has been an active bugger so far this year. The ransomware has been found at two Indiana hospitals -- one in Greenfield and another in Decatur.

Emphasizing how the threat actors are targeting healthcare in their focused attacks, the ransomware was also found to be present at a cloud-based electronic health records provider.

SamSam has been active since early 2016, when it used vulnerable JBoss application servers to gain a network foothold. Even then, the ransomware was not some widespread attack, but was singularly focused on healthcare targets.

(Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)

From the beginning, the malware was never dependent on establishing communication with a command and control server, which is how most ransomware operates. It was self-sufficient in operation. It has also always demanded payment in Bitcoin.

By using vulnerable and accessible servers for its entry targets, it bypasses the need for enabling human action or any social engineering. The criminals in this effort have historically first surveyed the infiltrated network before unleashing their encryption, looking for the most valuable files that they can corrupt. This would increase their chances of having a bigger monetary payout when the malware is finally executed.

The current attacks use open Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connections to provide an entry point. While their usual technique is to force their way into an RDP connection with a brute-force dictionary attack, it has been reported that the criminals entered one hospital system by using an outside vendor's username and password.

How they obtained these legitimate credentials is unclear.

The affected hospital chose to pay the ransom, even though it had backups available. It seems to have been a business decision at its core, since doing the restore from backups would have cost more than the ransom.

Luckily for the hospital, the threat actors did send a decryption key that unlocked the encrypted records. Most authorities will advise not to pay a ransom in this situation, since a decrypting key may not be returned to the victim.

While SamSam is the symptom, the open RDP on the Internet is the root cause of the infection.

Each of these RDP endpoints has to be extremely validated from a necessary use standpoint before it gets deployed. It goes without saying that a strong password and two-factor authentication should be used on these kinds of connections, but the hospital attack showed that even valid credentials can provide an entry method.

The time has come for the healthcare sector to be cognizant of just how large a target that they are to these criminals. Perhaps then security will rise to the forefront of their operations before some patient's health is compromised.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
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
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
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
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Enterprise Cybersecurity Plans in a Post-Pandemic World
Download the Enterprise Cybersecurity Plans in a Post-Pandemic World report to understand how security leaders are maintaining pace with pandemic-related challenges, and where there is room for improvement.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-41393
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-18
Teleport before 4.4.11, 5.x before 5.2.4, 6.x before 6.2.12, and 7.x before 7.1.1 allows forgery of SSH host certificates in some situations.
CVE-2021-41394
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-18
Teleport before 4.4.11, 5.x before 5.2.4, 6.x before 6.2.12, and 7.x before 7.1.1 allows alteration of build artifacts in some situations.
CVE-2021-41395
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-18
Teleport before 6.2.12 and 7.x before 7.1.1 allows attackers to control a database connection string, in some situations, via a crafted database name or username.
CVE-2021-3806
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-18
A path traversal vulnerability on Pardus Software Center's "extractArchive" function could allow anyone on the same network to do a man-in-the-middle and write files on the system.
CVE-2021-41392
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-17
static/main-preload.js in Boost Note through 0.22.0 allows remote command execution. A remote attacker may send a crafted IPC message to the exposed vulnerable ipcRenderer IPC interface, which invokes the dangerous openExternal Electron API.