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.

Attacks/Breaches

7/12/2016
03:50 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Healthcare Hacks Face Critical Condition

It's not just SSNs and credit cards -- detailed patient records and full EHR databases are targeted by cybercriminals today.

Cybercriminals have moved well beyond the theft of social security numbers (SSNs) and credit card data when it comes to healthcare organizations: They're now employing more complex schemes to pick up detailed health records, as one new report out this week explains.

According to a new study by researchers at InfoArmor of four attacks against US-based healthcare organizations, attackers in a theft campaign this spring were able to steal at least 600,000 detailed patient records and place 3 terabytes of associated data on the Dark Web's black market. These included MRI and X-ray images, patient-specific biometrics, and doctor's treatment notes. In initial reports of the breaches that came to light last month, the threat actors themselves claimed they had access to millions of records, as well as persistent unauthorized access to medical organizations' systems for ransomware distribution.

Initial reports show at least part of the compromise was achieved through a zero-day attack against the remote desktop protocol (RDP), and that one of the databases was being shopped around for nearly $500,000.

According to InfoArmor Chief Intelligence Officer Andrew Komarov, who led research into this campaign and wrote the brief released this week, attackers like these are building momentum with their attacks. They are broadly targeting the healthcare IT infrastructure, digging not just into weakly defended traditional networks, but also connected medical devices, mobile computing devices used by medal staff and, most profitably, electronic health records (EHR) systems. In this instance, the bad actors were able to gain access to victims' centralized EHR records through a compromised host for EHR software SRSsoft.

"In some cases, these systems stored all of the data in local files or in the Microsoft Access desktop databases without any special user access segregation, which created a serious risk of data theft once the network host was compromised," Komarov says, noting that this was how one healthcare institution in Montana was hit.

According to a report out from the Brookings Institution in May, 23% of all reported data breaches occur at healthcare organizations, and IBM reported that last year the rate of attacks struck healthcare more than any other industry.

Further, the Ponemon Institute reported that almost 90% of healthcare organizations have been hit by a breach in the past two years, costing the industry $6.2 billion.

The heat on healthcare has cranked up this year as attackers are learning new, nefarious ways of monetizing the industry's poor security posture, including through profitable cyber-extortion attacks. The first half of this year has seen a wave of successful ransomware bids against healthcare organizations and hospitals, nabbing the bad guys as much as $17,000 per system hostage. 

Related Content:

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Cognitive Bias Can Hamper Security Decisions
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7472
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
The "Count per Day" plugin before 3.2.6 for WordPress allows XSS via the wp-admin/?page=cpd_metaboxes daytoshow parameter.
CVE-2019-12839
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In OrangeHRM 4.3.1 and before, there is an input validation error within admin/listMailConfiguration (txtSendmailPath parameter) that allows authenticated attackers to achieve arbitrary command execution.
CVE-2019-12840
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In Webmin through 1.910, any user authorized to the "Package Updates" module can execute arbitrary commands with root privileges via the data parameter to update.cgi.
CVE-2019-12835
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
formats/xml.cpp in Leanify 0.4.3 allows for a controlled out-of-bounds write in xml_memory_writer::write via characters that require escaping.
CVE-2019-12830
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In MyBB before 1.8.21, an attacker can exploit a parsing flaw in the Private Message / Post renderer that leads to [video] BBCode persistent XSS to take over any forum account, aka a nested video MyCode issue.