In a research carried out by Emsisoft on ransomware, it was reported that the year 2020 witnessed over 560 US healthcare companies being hit by the said malware variant causing EHR downtime- like digital disruptions leading to deaths caused because of ambulance diversion, inaccessible lab tests and such.
The report includes the fact that there was a less amount of stress on the IT infrastructure of the healthcare companies in 2019 than last year.
On an overall note, Emsisoft data shows that at least 2,354 entities that include federal agencies, healthcare and schools were impacted by the file encrypting malware in 2020.
As most of the educational institutes choose to go online, there was a surge in ransomware attacks on the critical infrastructure of such institutes as well, as the data shows that ransomware crippled nearly 1345 institutes in the past 11 months.
Emsisoft claimed in its ransomware report that most of the damage was caused when Universal Health Services(UHS) that operates with a network of 400 hospitals in chain was severely disrupted by malware, that was initially thought to be an IT issue.
UHS attack was alarming as over 34 ambulances with patients requiring emergency care were diverted to other city hospitals. And cancer patients requiring radiation treatment were asked to postpone their treatment dates that could have led to a life-threatening situation. As most of the hospital services remained disrupted for days, they furloughed almost 300 staff members that caused mental stress in many.
The year 2021 is said to be more alarming as security experts suggest that data thefts reports will double as cyber crooks are becoming more sophisticated. What’s interesting about the prediction is that hackers are seeing the business model of data extortion as a smart way to make money and that could lead to devastating consequences as more hackers will jump into the stream of spreading ransomware in coming days.