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Ryuk ransomware targets hospitals yet again

ransomware
(Image credit: Image Credit: WK1003Mike / Shutterstock )

With healthcare institutions preoccupied with treating coronavirus cases and rolling out vaccines, cybercriminals have doubled down on attacks.

A new report from cybersecurity researchers Check Point Software states that hospitals and other healthcare organizations globally have faced an increasing number of ransomware attacks lately.

Since the start of November, the report claims, there has been a 45 percent increase in the number of attacks, compared to a 22 percent increase in other sectors. On average, a healthcare organization suffered 626 attacks every week in November, up from 430 in October. Criminals mostly executed attacks on hospitals using Ryuk or Sodinokibi ransomware.

Even though ransomware was the most popular attack vector, which recorded the strongest growth, it is far from being the only type of attack. Criminals also used botnets, as well as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Researchers at Check Point believe criminals are targeting hospitals because they work with the most vulnerable groups of people, whose lives could be endangered by malfunctioning systems. That’s why criminals believe hospitals are more likely to meet their ransom demands.

“The major motivation for threat actors with these attacks is financial. They are looking for large amounts of money, and fast. It seems that these attacks have paid off very well for the criminals behind them over the past year, and this success has made them hungry for more,” the researchers said.