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Report: 88 Percent of All Ransomware Is Detected in Healthcare Industry

July 27, 2016
by Heather Landi
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As many healthcare information security leaders already know, healthcare organizations continue to be a target for hackers, and new research confirms that industry leaders have cause for concern.

A report from Omaha, Neb.-based Solutionary, a cybersecurity service provider, found that 88 percent of all ransomware detected in the second quarter of 2016 was within the healthcare industry.

“Healthcare has been a target for ransomware campaigns because the industry has often paid ransom to retrieve vital customer data quickly. Furthermore, healthcare organizations use an abundance of systems and devices that are crucial pivot-points for an attacker, and they can even be victims of ransomware themselves,” Rob Kraus, director of research at Security Engineering Research Team, Solutionary, said in a statement.

For its Security Engineering Research Team (SERT) Quarterly Threat Report for Q2 2016, Solutionary SERT performed a broad analysis of the threat landscape and researchers found that Cryptowall was the top ransomware variant detected during the quarter, accounting for nearly 94 percent of detections.

Solutionary researchers also identified the top attack types of Q2 2016. Out of 11 categories, the top three—web application, malware and application-specific attacks—accounted for roughly 62 percent of all attacks. Threat actors focused primarily on web applications, which were the target of nearly 24 percent of all attacks.

And, attacks focusing on ActiveX or Adobe products accounted for nearly 48 percent of all attacks against the top five industries (retail, healthcare, education, finance and technology), according to the Solutionary report.

The Solutionary report also emphasizes the steps organizations should be taking to protect data, such as ensuring a robust backup and recovery process, and that security software is up-to-date and able to detect the most recent ransomware variants. “As the threat continues to evolve, it will be crucial for organizations to have defined incident-response procedures and proper detective and proper detective and preventive controls in place to reduce ransomware’s impact,” the study authors wrote.

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