Ransomware attacks are on a global increase. A particularly nasty computer virus encrypts your essential files and renders them inaccessible unless you pay the hacker for the key to open them. It attacks the master boot record and blocks victims from accessing their operating system. The malware typically spreads through email attachments, drive-by downloads, or social engineering, such as phishing on the web. The encryption uses bit keys, rendering it infeasible to break without a key. The key then uses brute force methods or some strain of asymmetric cryptanalytic attack (a kind of chosen plaintext attack on block ciphers that examines pairs of plaintexts rather than a single plaintext to help the analyst understand how the targeted algorithm behaves with various data kinds). Meanwhile, the hackers demand an extortion fee, ranging from $300 to $10,000, in exchange for the decryption key.
The FBI recently published reports and press releases warning businesses about ransomware threats and cybercriminals. In addition, government agencies are also guarding against these attacks proving the importance of combating this crime. In addition, there have been many cases where hospitals have had to pay thousands of dollars in bitcoin to regain access to their computers.
It is rapidly becoming a dominant cyber hiccup that netizens need to tackle more aggressively and will only continue to grow as these schemes are exceptionally profitable for cybercriminals in money. On the contrary, past year’s cybersecurity statistics revealed an alarming state of businesses and individuals who suffered close to $75 billion in losses. These vulnerabilities are only estimated to expand to $6 trillion per year in 2021.
A cyberattack targeted the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. The administration of this prestigious medical center claimed that a ransomware attack had disrupted inpatient and outpatient digital hospital systems, including smart lab, billing, report production, appointment scheduling, etc. The allegedly major attack occurred less than a month after AIIMS declared it would completely digitize by April 2023 and go paperless starting on January 1, 2023.
Lacunae in Health Sector
According to cyber security intelligence company CloudSEK, 7.7% of the attacks on the healthcare sector were recorded in India in 2021, rendering it the country with the second-highest number of such attacks globally. The Indian cybersecurity agency CERT-In receives cyber threat intelligence from several sources, including CloudSEK.
According to a report, 7.7 percent of attacks in 2021 were against the healthcare sector, with India recording the second-highest number behind the US. According to research, over 71 lakh records were compromised due to the attacks on the Indian healthcare sector.
1. Tech juggernauts, including Cisco India, CrowdStrike, Cyware, and Sophos India, warned of the possibility of cyberattacks during the pandemic that might impair email, wearable technology, telemedicine, and virtual healthcare.
2. In March 2021, Cyfirma, a Goldman Sachs-backed threat intelligence company based in Singapore, said that Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Abbot India, Patanjali, and AIIMS were among the Indian pharmaceutical businesses and hospitals that were reportedly targeted by hacker organizations from Russia, China, and North Korea as part of a vast international operation to steal sensitive information about vaccine research and testing.
3. Fifteen hacking campaigns were found by Cyfirma, with seven coming from Russia, four from China, three from North Korea, and one from Iran.
4. Indusface, a TCGF II (Tata Capital) financed SaaS security solution, reported that its clients in the worldwide healthcare industry had experienced upwards of a million cyberattacks of various kinds. Of them, India recorded 278,000 attacks.
5. Cyberattacks in the healthcare sector increased 95.35 percent globally in the first four months of 2022 compared to the same time in 2021. The epidemic has forced the healthcare sector to go to the cloud and digitally optimize itself. But that also makes it more vulnerable and exposes it to more hazards.
The new breeds of ransomware appearing in the wild will strike fear into most Internet users’ hearts, especially if they use Windows systems. This new type of ransomware isn’t targeting humans alone, however. It aims itself directly at internet-connected devices. Earlier, Zeus, CryptoLocker, swayed the world with upcoming threats like now Prometheus. The ransomware family is growing exponentially, and this latest incarnation is the latest scourge in the world of ransomware. Regarding the gang’s existence, it is assumed that they are active and will operate longer. It is also expected that more enterprises will continue to be victims to their data auctions and altered techniques bringing more pay-offs their way.
Author: Shrey Madaan, Research Associate
Cyber Peace Foundation