Ransomware attacks in healthcare doubled in Q3

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During the third quarter of 2020, ransomware attempts increased 50 percent compared to the first half of the year, according to a Check Point study featured in USA Today.

Five details:

1. The average ransom fees demanded to return data files is $1 million to $5 million per hit. University of California San Francisco paid $1.14 million to ransomware attackers in June.

2. The percentage of healthcare organizations affected by ransomware attacks worldwide nearly doubled from 2.3 percent in the second quarter to 4 percent in the third quarter. In the U.S. there were 313 ransomware attacks in the third quarter, up from 158 in the second quarter.

3. Hackers target healthcare organizations because they are "the most desperate and willing to pay," Check Point spokesperson Ekram Ahmed told USA Today. "The biggest mistake they make is paying the ransom," he said. It becomes a vicious cycle from there. It funds their research and development."

4. Mr. Ahmed also said healthcare organizations are easy targets because they are more likely to use older software without updates.

5. Mr. Ahmed recommended healthcare organizations back up their systems and not pay the ransom if they are hit.

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