Global surges in ransomware attacks in Q3 2020
by Sara Nguyen
What happened in Q3 2020 with ransomware attacks?
According to Check Point Research, there was a 50% increase in the daily average of ransomware attacks in Q3, compared to the first half of the year.
Even though this has affected numerous industries, ransomware in the healthcare sector nearly doubled in frequency from Q2 to Q3. Healthcare has become the #1 most targeted industry in the US.
The study also points out that US ransomware attacks saw a 98% increase in Q3 from Q2. This makes it the most targeted country in the world.
Cybercriminals’ hard work is seeing some payoff. Multiple healthcare providers have become victims of ransomware attacks in recent months. For example:
- Universal Health Services, one of America’s largest healthcare providers, suffered from a ransomware attack that led to shutting down its IT systems for an extended period of time.
- A ransomware attack forced Ashtabula County Medical Center to go offline for nearly a month. Meanwhile, healthcare employees are using paper-and-pen to record patient information.
- In Germany, a patient’s death was tied to a ransomware attack. The hospital was unable to process new patients and had to turn away a person that needed treatment. The patient died en route to a different hospital.
Why are ransomware attacks increasing?
The pandemic has caused rapid changes in IT and security systems, leading to cybersecurity challenges. Many employees suddenly started remotely working from home which produced new threat vectors. This is the perfect breeding ground for cybercriminals to hack into a system while a business is unaware of security risks.
Hackers are not necessarily always looking to steal protected health information (PHI). Sometimes they are looking to shut down operations and demand a ransom to restore the system. Healthcare providers are particularly vulnerable since lives are at risk.
“Driven by fear, organizations sometimes prefer to pay the ransomware immediately to avoid having their valuable data exposed,” according to the researchers. “Recently, different ransomware operators have taken advantage of the current pandemic and used this tactic to force hospitals and medical research institutes to pay the ransom, putting the lives of patients in danger.”
Even when cybersecurity is kept up to date, cybercriminals will evolve to adapt to new security systems. This game of cat and mouse makes it essential to update IT and security systems to protect valuable data.
How to prevent ransomware attacks
Cybercriminals won’t rest, and neither should your healthcare organization. Here are some cybersecurity tips to consider:
- Employee training: Educate your employees on ransomware attacks, spam, and other security threats. Your employees recognizing a phishing email can make or break your security.
- Implement data backups: Backup sensitive or critical information offline to prevent losing important data. Email archiving makes it easier to recover from system malfunctions or cyberattacks.
- Prevent unauthorized data transmission: Implement a data loss prevention (DLP) strategy to prevent employees from sharing sensitive information with outsiders.
- Leverage inbound security tools: Cybercriminals can transmit ransomware via email. Use strong email filters to stop malicious emails from reaching your inbox.
How Paubox can help
Our solution comes with inbound security that includes protection against spam, email viruses, ransomware, and phishing attacks. It also uses two-factor authentication to ensure a person’s identity before they access the Paubox admin panel.
Paubox Suite Plus also includes ExecProtect. This feature prevents data attacks from phishing emails in a display name spoofing scam. Cybercriminals send emails using similar email addresses as C-suite executives and other employees to get sensitive data. ExecProtect has a system that prevents those emails from ever reaching an employee’s inbox.
If you’re interested in the highest form of email security, Paubox Email Suite Premium has these features and more. It includes email archiving that will make it easier to recover from an unfortunate system malfunction, and it has DLP to keep data out of unauthorized hands.
Prevent data breaches and avoid fines by securing your email communications with Paubox today.