Ransomware attacks on healthcare: Irish systems down

Catherine Stupp reporting for Wall Street Journal:

The attack appears to be the first major strike to disable a country’s centralized public health system during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, hackers have attacked individual hospitals and research centers around the world, including a Czech hospital treating coronavirus patients. Cyberattacks cost hospitals in the U.S. millions of dollars in 2020.
Staff at Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital resorted to using pen and paper to record patient details on Friday after the HSE disabled all access to its IT services, said Shane Higgins, the hospital master. “It is very disruptive,” he said.

This is a disturbing development – previously, it was assumed “hackers” had a “heart of gold” because they wouldn’t disrupt the systems geared to serve the humanity. However, as desperate criminal entities have grown over time, these are backed by rogue nation-states and are designed to pilfer critical healthcare records/financial data.

Here’s an infographic from the linked WSJ news:

Several areas of vulnerability

This is an important quote:

“The key thing is not just to bring data back, but making sure the integrity of the data or any other system or environment that depends on that data doesn’t disrupt the other systems as well,” he said.

If we don’t trust the integrity of data, all hell will break loose. We need to have an enterprise-security mindset and understand how vulnberabilities exist in the system and proactively work towards reducing the attack surface.

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