The aftermath of a cyber attack – hundreds of medical operations canceled

Julie Splinters - -

When the first samples of computer malware appeared, few anticipated that they would have an enormous impact not only in the on the virtual world but on reality as well. IT specialists have been able to keep up with hackers and invent countermeasures for their threats. However, the recent cyber attack on the hospital, which resulted in multiple medical operations delayed or canceled, poses a riddle for virus researchers and the medical community as well. National Health Service’s Lincolnshire and Goole located in the UK declared that all planned operations documented on November 2 – the day of the attack – were canceled due to stagnated computer system. Such incident might be a wake-up call for business and public institutions worldwide.

The resonance of the assault was so strong that the patients, who needed medical treatment, were directed to neighboring medical institutions. At the moment, it is still unknown what kind of malware caused such damage. In general, hospitals have been a favorite target for malware developers. The majority of security experts suspect that such attacks are the wrongdoings of the ransomware, perhaps Locky. It has been already granted several major updates: .odin, .thor, and .shit versions. The idea of making a profit of several thousand dollars attracted many bright minds into malware creation business. Unfortunately, hospitals and other big institutions do not invest enough financial resources for ensuring cyber security. Likewise, they are an easy target for virus developers.

What or who is behind these attacks?

The are many speculations about the identity of this malware. Other ransomware threats are suspected to be at fault as well. Samsam virus also targeted the medical institution in March. Nonetheless, the attention of majority IT experts is pointed to another cyber titan – CryptoWall (the latest version – 4.0). After its successful reign in the virtual space, it fell off this year. At least, what it looked like for a while. According to the statistical data, 94% of hijacked medical institutions leads to CryptoWall. Currently rampaging Cerber, which has been backed up with recent versions – 4.1.0 and 4.1.1 – raise concerns as well. On the final note, latest and powerful security tools are not the only crucial aspects in warding off viruses. Public awareness of different cyber threats should be fostered as well. A significant number of company workers and ordinary users are still not aware what damage might inflict a careless click on an infected link or spam message. Cyber education should be mandatory in every company and institution which greatly relies on the virtual net.


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