Survey reveals healthcare sector least prepared to prevent data loss

Intel Security has released its McAfee Labs Threats Report which assesses the growing ransomware threat to the healthcare industry, surveys the “who and how” of data loss, explains the practical application of machine learning in cybersecurity, and details the growth of ransomware, mobile malware, macro malware, and other threats in Q2 2016.


Following a rash of targeted ransomware attacks upon hospitals in early 2016, Intel Security investigated the attacks, the ransomware networks behind them, and the payment structures enabling cybercriminals to monetize their malicious activity.


The researchers identified nearly $100,000 in payments from hospital ransomware victims to specific bitcoin accounts. While healthcare is still clearly a small proportion of the overall ransomware ‘business,’ McAfee Labs expects a growing number of new industry sectors to be targeted by the extensive networks launching such attacks.


In the first half of 2016, our researchers identified a ransomware author and distributor who appeared to receive $121 million (BTC 189,813) in payments from ransomware operations targeting a variety of sectors.  Dark net discussion board communications suggest that this particular cybercrime actor had accumulated profits of $94 million during the first six months of this year.


The research team attributes the increased focus on hospitals to such organizations’ reliance on legacy IT systems, medical devices with weak or no security, third-party services that may be common across multiple organizations, and hospitals’ need for immediate access to information to deliver the best possible patient care.



The Q2 report also features the results of a primary research study assessing data loss incidents, including the types of data leaking out, the ways data exits organizations, and the steps organizations must take to take to improve the capabilities of data loss prevention.


Edited by Shereen Shabnam



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