FBI warns of large-scale ransomware threat to the U.S. healthcare industry

The threat of a large-scale ransomware attack once again grabbed headlines in the mainstream press as the U.S.’s Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Health and Human Services warned that cybercriminals were targeting American healthcare providers.

The alert, which was issued Wednesday, warned that there was “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers” focused on “data theft and disruption of healthcare services.”

The warning comes as hospitals, medical facilities, and healthcare workers around the country are faced with spiking cases of COVID-19. The timing is no accident, as cybercriminals are leveraging the need for these healthcare providers to have access to their data and systems.

Ransomware Continues to Top Cybercrime

You don’t have to be a tech pro to be aware of how pervasive and destructive criminal cyberattacks on consumers, businesses and public institutions have become these days – with ransomware being first among them. In fact, the latest annual edition of Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) reports that ransomware incursions accounted for 75% of the malware-driven security incidents of the past 12 months.

The aggressive and lucrative use of ransomware as a favored cybercrime weapon has long been the focus of Eric O’Neill, the renowned former FBI counter-intelligence and author of the recently-published "Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America’s First Cyberspy", which recounts his role in unmasking and imprisoning notorious FBI mole Robert Hannsen (which was also told in 2007's "Breach").

A sought-after consultant on cybersecurity issues, O’Neill has been announced a featured speaker at the first annual Acronis Global Cyber Summit in October ... and he’s ready to dive deep.