Healthcare Still Under Threat: Hackers Harvested $1 Million Ransom from Medical School

Jun 30, 2020 at 11:31 // News
Lana Smiley
Hackers threaten medical schools

The University of California had to pay a $1 million ransom to regain access to the research performed at their Medical School. The incident has proven the healthcare industry is still vulnerable to hacker attacks.

The data were captured on June 1 by a hacker gang called Netwalker. For almost a month, the representatives of the University tried to negotiate with criminals, according to BBC News. However, eventually, they had to give up and pay the ransom in order to get their data back. Fortunately, hackers didn’t capture the school’s research related to COVID-19, however, the decision to pay the ransom witnessed the captured data being of not less importance.

The University is now cooperating with IT and cybersecurity specialists to detect vulnerabilities of their corporate network and prevent such attacks in the future. 

Taking advantage of the vulnerable

The Healthcare sector became especially vulnerable after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As, a world blockchain news outlet reported, hackers mostly target clinical systems of hospitals and capture clinical records of patients, threatening to leak them on the web if not paid a ransom. 

Global research organisations also reported a spike of attacks. Thus, the World Health Organization stated they sometimes had to endure about 2,000 attacks a day.  

Such a course of events made cybersecurity professionals join forces to battle criminal activity targeting the healthcare industry as it has critical importance during the coronavirus pandemic. This resulted in the appearance of numerous cybersecurity initiatives including Cybersecurity Volunteers 19, Action Fraud, COVID-19 Cyber Threat Intelligence League etc.  

Curiously enough, some hackers from criminal gangs have also joined such initiatives for ethical and moral reasons. They believe healthcare is too important to go and take advantage of its vulnerability. Therefore, they decided to abandon the Dark Side for some time and protect it against their colleagues. 

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