McAfee Labs Reports Record Surges in Health Care Attacks

Published On: March 26, 2018Categories: Buzz, Uncategorized

The healthcare industry has seen increased levels of attack, according to the March 2018 edition of the McAfee Labs Threats Report, which examines the growth and trends of new malware, ransomware, and other threats in Q4 2017.

Although publicly disclosed security incidents targeting health care actually decreased by 78% in the fourth quarter of 2017, the sector experienced a dramatic 211% overall increase in incidents in 2017. McAfee’s analysts conclude many incidents were caused by organizational failure to comply with security best practices or address known vulnerabilities in medical software.

“Health care is a valuable target for cybercriminals who have set aside ethics in favor of profits,” said Christiaan Beek, McAfee Lead Scientist and Senior Principal Engineer. “Our research uncovered classic software failures and security issues such as hardcoded embedded passwords, remote code execution, unsigned firmware, and more. Both health care organizations and developers creating software for their use must be more vigilant in ensuring they are up to date on security best practices.”

Meanwhile, fileless malware and cryptocurrency mining were also on the upswing, according to the report. McAfee Labs saw on average eight new threat samples per second, and the increasing use of fileless malware attacks leveraging Microsoft PowerShell. The Q4 spike in Bitcoin value prompted cybercriminals to focus on cryptocurrency hijacking through a variety of methods, including malicious Android apps.

“By going digital along with so many other things in our world, crime has become easier to execute, less risky and more lucrative than ever before,” said Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee. “It should be no surprise to see criminals focusing on stealthy fileless PowerShell attacks, low risk routes to cash through cryptocurrency mining, and attacks on soft targets such as hospitals.”

The research is based on quarterly threat data gathered from hundreds of millions of sensors across multiple threat vectors around the world.

Channel Impact®
Arguably the most compelling data point is the surge in healthcare attacks accompanied by the dramatic reduction in Q4. Regardless of the cause, channel partners would be wise to revisit their health care clients to ensure that their technologies and practices pass muster.


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