Amid the pandemic, the healthcare sector has worked tirelessly to ensure that every patient gets the best care to fight the COVID-19 virus. With cases rising with time, it is becoming a bit difficult for healthcare sectors to manage everything, even though they are trying their best.
In such a case, the cyberattacks got a smooth entry since hospitals and institutes are now leaving the system vulnerable to attacks with no proper care. Hence, it is essential to understand the threat of Ryuk Ransomware that is affecting the healthcare systems.
Ryuk is just like other Ransomware that encrypts critical files by infiltrating networks. The hacker then demands the ransom to give a decryption key to the host. Since 2018, Ryuk Ransomware is now spreading at a faster rate while attacking millions of hospitals, private enterprises, and local governments.
Many agencies believe that Ryuk enters the system in the form of phishing emails just like other Ransomware and Malware. Additionally, the emails are formed in such a way that it appears to be from a trusted source that makes users open it without doubting anything.
Trojan or Trickbot are attached to the email that enters the host system and collects all the admin credentials and vital details that can be used against the host. Once the data and high-value assets are collected, it is easy to integrate the encryption code that locks all the details. In return, the hacker demands the Bitcoin ransom payment to release the decryption key.
Healthcare & Ryuk Ransomware
Undoubtedly, hospitals work with some crucial data of patient’s health and other vital information that in the wrong hands can be a disaster. Hence, it is becoming one of the major targets for such cybercrime attacks.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, in October 2020, it was reported that Ryuk Ransomware is one of the most dangerous attacks that one needs to be aware of. Especially the healthcare industry needs to be aware of such a threat that is plaguing the industry for a long time.
Since the start of 2020, the Ryuk Ransomware attacks have increased rapidly. Several attacks were reported on the medical schools and institutions that are working for the vaccine of COVID-19.
Prevent Ryuk Ransomware Attacks
Healthcare organizations and hospitals are facing an incredible number of cyberattacks amid the pandemic. It is vital to know the ways through which one can prevent Ryuk Ransomware attacks and save patient’s data.
There are several ways through which hospitals can keep their data protected and prevent any Ryuk Ransomware attacks.
#1 Lockdown Endpoint Protection
The major security measure that hospitals and healthcare organizations can take is to install the antivirus. But these antiviruses are not that strong that it can prevent Ryuk Ransomware attacks that leave the system at its vulnerabilities. It is best to take advantage of options like blacklisting, whitelisting, and configurable security rules as part of lockdown endpoints. In this, the applications and files that are deemed safe are executed while the suspicious or unknown files are not executed that can include zero-day attacks, ransomware, and malware.
#2 Cyber Hygiene Education
The weakest link of the security chain is the strongest part of the cybercriminals. Hence, they use phishing emails to enter the host system and use it as a mode of attack. The education domain is the most vulnerable aspect through which cyberattacks are committed. The organization should update the employees on such suspicious emails and ways to identify them to ensure that no one can open unsolicited attachments, unknown links, etc.
#3 Zero Trust Security
This cybersecurity approach, as the name suggests, works on the least privileged. If the trust parameters of the application, device, or users are verified then only access control is granted. In case of compromise with any one of the parameters, the access is denied while claiming it as unauthorized or suspicious. With this, the healthcare organization can track phishing emails easily while denying access to the critical infrastructure.
The reason behind the Ryuk Ransomware is finance and hence the attack is only successful if high-value assets or critical data is encrypted. The data that is under the HIPAA Privacy Rule like protected health information (PHI) is attacked. Hence, the hackers try to hit on the firewall vulnerabilities, probing open ports, and networks. To prevent it, the healthcare organization can easily isolate or segment critical assets or applications. After the segmentation, the authorized users can only access control from the assigned applications. This prevents unauthorized access and lateral movement in the system.
These are the major ways through which healthcare organizations can fight against the pandemic without worrying about Ryuk Ransomware. This makes sure to keep the vulnerabilities in the medical facilities at bay and ensure that no one can leverage them. Hence, doctors and healthcare employees can focus on their work and save lives instead of worrying about their data.