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On March 25, before the full impact of coronavirus hit home and the world was still full of hope, Google News showed an eye-wateringly appealing headline: Cybercrime Gangs Promise to Stop Attacks on Healthcare Organizations During the COVID-19 Crisis.
Apparently, some ransomware operators, such as DoppelPaymer, were also promising free decryption services for healthcare organizations mistakenly encrypted. Some hope!
As the article went on to explain, even if the gangs did as promised, the supply chain for healthcare is so complex that an attack on any other organization might end up affecting it. And now, half a year later, the bitter reality is that cybercriminals have – like hyenas stalking the weakest in a herd – taken every advantage of businesses and individuals already crippled by lockdown.
Sending staff to work from home means extending the business network edge to homeworkers who, even if diligent about securing their laptops, are likely to be sharing a Wi-Fi network with other family members. In fact everyone has been spending more time online and criminals rapidly adapted their methods to the new social environment. Anxious and less tech-savvy consumers, desperately seeking the latest Covid-19 news and advice, are especially vulnerable to phishing scams – including e-mails designed to look like they are from official government authorities or financial institutions. There have also been bogus requests for charitable donations.
So why promise to halt all cyber-attack activities? The article suggested that, in this emergency climate, any cybercrime against health organization would be so offensive that it would challenge the federal government’s full security powers to throw every capability it had against the gangs. They were just waving a white flag to save their skins.
If anything, we can expect to emerge from this pandemic with businesses – weakened by the security challenges and economic setbacks – even more vulnerable to attack. Meanwhile the criminal gangs will be fortified with a surge in revenue and a massive harvest of compromised addresses and other data to mine for future attacks.
Credit: Google News