Last Week in Ransomware: 10-09-2023. Ransomware Runs Amok!

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Oh boy, folks, it’s been quite the rollercoaster in the world of ransomware, and last week was no exception. First up on our calamity carousel, we have Prospect Medical Holdings, a healthcare provider that fell victim to a ransomware attack. Now, you might think a little cyber hiccup wouldn’t hurt anyone, but oh, how wrong you are!

This attack was like a bull in a china shop – emergency rooms slammed shut, medical procedures became about as common as a unicorn sighting, billing systems threw a tantrum, and ambulances embarked on unexpected road trips crisscrossing state lines. Talk about chaos with a capital “C”!

But wait, there’s more! For a grueling 40 days, three Connecticut hospitals under Prospect’s loving care were held hostage. They had to send out a whopping 29 ‘divert notifications’ to emergency personnel, essentially saying, “Sorry, folks, you can’t come here, try the next hospital down the road.” Medicaid payments? Forget about it! The state Department of Social Services had to dig deep and advance a jaw-dropping $7.5 million just to keep the lights on.

And that’s not even the end of the story! Nearly half of those elective procedures? Canceled. And when you needed a scan or an X-ray? Sometimes, the answer was, “Sorry, our machines are on vacation!” It’s like a medical thriller unfolding in real life, and the moral of the story? Our healthcare system might be a bit more fragile than we’d like to admit.

You see, these ransomware operators have a thing for healthcare providers. They know that lives are at stake, and that’s their ticket to big bucks. Healthcare folks are in such a hurry to save lives that they often pay the ransom, and these cyber crooks exploit that faster than you can say, “I need an MRI!”

Now, here’s the grim reality check: cybercriminals have become experts at sneaking into networks, swiping sensitive data, and using it as leverage for even more ridiculous ransom demands. Recovering from one of these attacks takes weeks, and patients can’t exactly put their health on hold during that time. It’s gotten so bad that organizations like CISA, the FBI, NSA, and HHS are ringing the alarm bells like a fire drill in a crowded theater.

So, the bottom line? Ransomware attacks are on the rise, healthcare providers are the bullseye, and if we don’t start taking this seriously, we might just end up with more patient casualties than a clumsy med student in surgery. Time to pay attention, folks! Read more here if you dare.

Now, let’s take a turn towards Indiana, where Attorney General Todd Rokita is making some noise. He’s filed a lawsuit against CarePointe, a medical group, over a ransomware attack that exposed sensitive data for 48,742 patients. That’s a lot of folks who suddenly had their secrets spilled like a leaky coffee cup.

The lawsuit is like a rap sheet, alleging multiple violations of HIPAA rules and other regulations. They found some security issues, too, like password policies that would make a toddler giggle and software older than your grandpa’s shoe collection.

You might be thinking, “Okay, so what’s the big deal?” Well, my friend, a ransomware attack isn’t just a slap on the wrist. It can cost you more than a tropical vacation with your extended family, and that’s without even considering the potential lawsuits and other expenses. Plus, these days, attackers don’t just waltz in and lock up your files; they swipe ’em first, just to add some extra spice to the recipe.

So, if you run an organization, take a hint from this Indiana tale – beef up those security controls, and give your system a health checkup more often than you visit your favorite fast-food joint. Read more here, because, trust me, you don’t want to end up in a lawsuit like CarePointe.

Now, let’s talk speed, baby! Ransomware operators are going fast and furious, and it’s got defenders shaking in their cyber boots. The time it takes to infect a system has dropped from an average of 4.5 days to just a few hours. Blink, and you might miss it!

Why the rush, you ask? Well, some say it’s because attackers are going after smaller organizations, but that’s just part of the story. The ransomware game has become so easy that even your grandma could get in on it. Automation is the name of the game, and it lets these cyber baddies hit more victims faster than a squirrel on an energy drink.

They’re not just picking on the big guys, either. Unpatched vulnerabilities and misconfigurations are like open doors, and automation means they can snatch the low-hanging fruit without breaking a sweat. Even the mighty Sony got a taste of the ransomware pie, proving that nobody’s too big to fail in the digital jungle. It’s an arms race out there, and organizations better start sprinting. Read more here, but be sure to stretch first.

And finally, the grand finale – Sony’s Double Data Extortion Spectacular! The entertainment giant had quite the week. First, they had to send out a mass alert to thousands of employees and their families because some sneaky attackers exploited a zero-day vulnerability, unleashing a data leak like a burst water main.

But that wasn’t enough drama for one week. Oh no, there was a second act! came waltzing in, demanding a ransom and threatening Sony with GDPR sanctions. It’s like a double feature where the plot twists keep piling up!

Even organizations with security programs that would make Fort Knox jealous aren’t safe. Vulnerabilities in software can turn a company’s world upside down, and now, there’s the added twist of regulators breathing down your neck if you don’t cough up the ransom money. It’s like a Hollywood blockbuster with a real-life budget.

So, what have we learned today, my dear readers? Ransomware is no joke, it’s faster than ever, and even giants like Sony can’t escape its clutches. Stay vigilant out there, and remember, in the world of cybercrime, there’s no such thing as a popcorn break.


About the Author:

Online Security Expert Todd Laff reviews online hacks and security issues and how to protect yourself and secure your network.
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