Hackers spreading ransomware demand a ransom of $50 from patients

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In recent times, the landscape of cyber threats has taken a disconcerting turn, deviating from the conventional approach of hackers encrypting computers for ransom. The latest trend involves cyber attackers directly reaching out to impact patients, demanding a ransom ranging from a mere $50 to $200.

Specifically targeting individuals who have undergone healthcare services, these cyber criminals are employing a chilling tactic by threatening to expose intimate photos captured during critical medical procedures such as life-saving cancer examinations, plastic surgeries, and gynecology.

The compromised images vary in origin, with some appearing to be snapshots taken by medical equipment during cancer screenings, while others seem to have emanated from covertly connected surveillance cameras, often without the knowledge of the affected individuals.

Remarkably, the perpetrators are reaching out directly to the patients, presenting them with extortion demands that fluctuate between $50 and $1500. The amount demanded is contingent upon the perceived sensitivity of the victim’s information and the nature of the undisclosed details uncovered during medical examinations.

Faced with limited options, victims are resorting to seeking legal recourse to address their predicament before it escalates further. Notable cases, such as those involving Hankins & Sohn Plastic Surgery Associates and patients affiliated with the hospital chain Integris Health Inc, have garnered attention, with lawsuits being filed to bring the issue to public awareness.

The outcome of these legal actions remains uncertain, as both defendants and victims presenting their cases possess distinct narratives that appear justified from their respective standpoints.

From the perspective of cybersecurity professionals, the onus is on healthcare service providers to implement robust measures to safeguard customer data in compliance with prevailing data protection laws. The issue, however, presents a dual responsibility where both the service provider and the customer play pivotal roles in fortifying defenses against the incursion of hackers. This underscores the critical importance of a collaborative effort to ensure the security of sensitive medical information.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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