In a warning advisory posted by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, it seems that ransomware attacks have been targeting hospitals across the United States.
CNN goes on to note that various hospitals have already been hit by these attacks, and a White House administration official tells the outlet that the incidents may be connected, but that they haven’t identified the attackers.
In the statement from the CISA, it is noted that the “CISA, FBI, and HHS have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers. CISA, FBI, and HHS are sharing this information to provide warning to healthcare providers to ensure that they take timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats.”
CNN has also confirmed at least two hospitals that have been targeted, St. Lawrence Health Systems in New York and the Sky Lakes Medical Center in Oregon. There have been at least six attacks in the last 24 hours, according to Allan Liska, an intelligence analyst for Recorded Future.
So, what exactly is a ransomware attack? Well, the name is fitting, as it is an attack on computer networks that threaten to release sensitive information or lockdown systems unless a ransom is paid. These days, many of these attacks request payment via cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The attack being executed currently are a variant of a Ryuk attack, which manipulates networking files on PC systems and prevents users from restoring Windows to previous, safe points.