Cyberattacks in healthcare up to steal COVID-19 treatment, vaccine research

The Department of Justice is seeing more cyberattacks against healthcare providers and companies in pursuit of COVID-19 data, among other things, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal


"We've seen cyberattacks on healthcare, pharmaceutical and research organizations in order to steal valuable research on coronavirus vaccines and treatments," said the DOJ's Criminal Division Chief Brian Benczkowski. Google's Threat Analysis Group also reported hundreds of targeted government-backed groups launching cyberattacks, with some focused in healthcare.

Throughout the pandemic, the World Health Organization has reported cyberattacks against them as well as schemes where criminals masquerade as the WHO to convince people to share their personal information.

On May 21, the FTC warned of scammers posing as contract tracers from public health departments sending fake text messages to steal peoples' private information. The text messages tell individuals that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive and should self-isolate, and include a malicious link.

Early on during the pandemic, some cybercriminal organizations said they would not attack hospitals grappling with a surge in COVID-19 cases. However, as the pandemic continues and surges ebb and flow across the U.S., health systems are beginning to report cyberattacks again. In the past week Care New England in Providence, R.I., reported computer downtime. Oswego (N.Y.) Health also reported an employee email account was taken over by someone not associated with the system, who sent out an email with a possibly malicious link.


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