Interpol, the international police organization, has issued an alert following a rise in ransomware attacks on hospitals and other healthcare institutions on the front line of the battle against the raging Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite several cyber-blackmail gangs announcing to the public as recently as March that they were suspending their attacks on the healthcare sector in light of the coronavirus crisis, Interpol’s Cybercrime Threat Response Team has determined that, on the contrary, there has actually been a significant rise in ransomware attacks on key organizations and essential infrastructure fighting against the coronavirus. Due to the increase in criminal activity, Interpol has now issued a “Purple Notice” to alert its 194 member states to the threat.
“As hospitals and medical organizations around the world are working non-stop to preserve the well-being of individuals stricken with the coronavirus, they have become targets for ruthless cybercriminals who are looking to make a profit at the expense of sick patients,” Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock was quoted as saying in the press release. Interpol is continuing to provide its member states with the usual assistance and offering any support needed to ensure that critical healthcare systems remain unaffected, while also bringing criminals targeting them to book for their crimes, Stock went on to say.
The Interpol statement confirms that the current campaigns, like so many others, are chiefly spread by way of phishing emails often pretending to be from an especially trustworthy sender or extremely urgent. Companies and organizations can take technical measures to protect themselves. At the same time, it is vital to frequently educate employees about the topic and sensitize them to the threat. We also strongly recommend our new Anti-Phishing Guide, which you can download free of charge and share with your colleagues and employees.