The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency released a report on Wednesday addressing the ongoing threats that hackers pose to American hospitals. In September, hackers successfully hobbled the computer systems at over 250 medical facilities operated by Univeral Health Services.
According to a report by the Associated Press, cybersecurity experts within the United States government are concerned that hackers pose a significant threat to the American healthcare system. Several institutions, such as hospitals and universities, have been on the receiving end of ransomware attacks over the past several months.
During a ransomware attack, the hackers take control of the victim’s computers. The victim is then required to hand over a substantial sum of money to the hackers in order to regain control of their computer systems.
Breitbart News reported in July that the University of California, San Francisco, paid $1 million to ransomware hackers to regain control of their computer systems. The more recent case of Universal Health Services included the computer systems of hundreds of facilities becoming unusable for an extrended period of time.
The government report details the threat posed to American hospitals by cyberattackers. The report, titled “Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector,” details the various way in which cybercriminals could derail the U.S. healthcare system.
Charles Carmakal, chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, claims that the threats posed to the healthcare system by cyber attackers are a significant concern. “We are experiencing the most significant cybersecurity threat we’ve ever seen in the United States,” Carmakal said.
Some hospitals have already experienced ransomware attacks. Breitbart News reported in October that ten hospitals in the United States and Australia were forced to turn away patients during a ransomware attack that shut down critical computer systems. In October 2019, a company called DCH Health System in Alabama decided to pay off ransomware hackers that took control of computer systems at three local hospitals.
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