BOSTON (AP) — Federal agencies say cybercriminals are unleashing a major ransomware assault against the U.S. health care system, targeting several hospitals and medical facilities.
Independent security experts say it has already hobbled at least five U.S. hospitals this week, and could potentially impact hundreds more.
In a joint alert, the FBI and two federal agencies say they have credible information of an imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and health care providers.
A release from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency says they, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services "assess malicious cyber actors are targeting the HPH Sector with Trickbot malware, often leading to ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of healthcare services."
They say malicious groups are targeting the sector with ransomware that could lead to data theft and disruption of health care services.
They recommend hospitals and health facilities patch operating systems and update software, use multi-factor authentication when possible, disable unused ports, and audit logs and user accounts to ensure accounts are legitimate and accessing appropriate areas of the network.
Although the attacks coincide with the U.S. presidential election, there is no immediate indication they are motivated by anything but profit.