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Healthcare organizations sitting on 'unexploded' ransomware


Alexander Culafi

While threat reports show ransomware attacks against healthcare organizations are down, experts say threat actors may be lurking in networks and waiting to strike at a later date. In the age of COVID-19, it appears there's no honor among ransomware gangs.

As the COVID-19 in March, several notorious ransomware gangs publicly announced they would not target any medical facilities or hospitals until the situation stabilized. And to some extent, they just might be. Recent threat research from several vendors has shown a decline in attacks against healthcare organizations. VMware Carbon Black, for example, recently reported that even as overall ransomware attacks across the globe surged 148% in March, attacks of healthcare organizations declined. Antimalware vendor Emsisoft reported a steep drop in confirmed ransomware attacks on U.S. healthcare targets for the first quarter, which saw just 25 attacks compared to an average of 191 per quarter in 2019. Emsisoft also observed just two successful attacks on U.S. healthcare organizations between April 1-20.

"I would say that the number of attacks -- at least, successful attacks -- on healthcare providers are down globally. However, that's not based on hard data, as we only track U.S. incidents. In general, the number of successful attacks on the U.S. public sector, including state and municipal governments and education, is...

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