Russian hacking group doubles down on attacks against US hospitals: 6 things to know

FIN12, a Russian ransomware group, is repeatedly targeting U.S. hospitals without considering how the attacks affect patient care, according to an Oct. 7 CBS report.

Five things to know:

  1. An Oct 7 report by Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm, said ransomware attacks by FIN12 account for more than 20 percent of the breaches to which it responds.

  2. FIN12 checks a hospital's financial status before launching an attack on victims, the Mandiant report said. After an attack, the hacker group can demand millions of dollars to restore computer systems. Nearly 1 in 5 of FIN12's victims are hospitals, according to the report. More than 70 percent of its victims are in the United States.

  3. The hacker group launches an attack without regard to what the damage will be, according to the report. Some ransomware groups reportedly have pledged to stop launching attacks on hospitals because they disrupt patient care and get nationwide attention.

  4. Ed Gaudet, CEO and founder of Censient, a healthcare risk management company, said frequent ransomware attacks should be a "wakeup call" for the healthcare industry, CBS reported.

  5. Data from a September report by Ponemon Institute, which was funded by Censient, suggest people are dying in the wake of ransomware attacks, Mr. Gaudent told CBS.

  6. "There's an increase in mortality rates based on ransomware attacks," Mr. Gaudent said. "When a ransomware attack happens, all services are shut down in a hospital. The doctors, the nurses, they don't have access to the records and so they cannot deliver effective patient care."

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