6 things to know about 'killware,' cybersecurity's next big threat

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Some hackers are adopting a “killware” cyber model, which launches attacks on critical infrastructure with the intent to harm Americans, USA Today reported Oct. 11. 

Six things to know:

  1. Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary for Homeland Security, told USA Today he is worried about killware because it has the potential to kill Americans.

  2. Hackers breached a water system in February that was considered an unsuccessful attempt to distribute contaminated water to residents in Florida. "[The] attack was not for financial gain but rather purely to do harm,” he said.

  3. The attack "should have gripped our entire country,” Mr. Mayorkas said, according to USA Today.

  4. Mr. Mayorkas said it's just one indication that hackers increasingly are targeting critical parts of the nation's infrastructure. Hackers are targeting everything from hospitals to police departments without considering the attacks can be fatal.

  5. Cybersecurity experts told USA Today they are tracking similar trends as Mr. Mayorkas. Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure targets could lead to loss of life, according to the report.

  6. Several patient safety experts told Becker's that ransomware attacks can be fatal for patients. As hospitals increase their digital transformation, hospitals become more independent on technology to deliver patient care. When ransomware attacks remove these support systems, it can put patients in danger.

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