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Criminals Attacks Over 100 Nursing Homes with Ransomware, Demand Payment in Bitcoin 

nursing home

Cryptocurrency ransomware attacks have been particularly terrible in 2019, with the class of computer viruses seeing what is looking like a resurgence this year. The latest report of ransomware attacks is a situation that is engulfing nursing homes across the country. According to a report from cybersecurity analyst Brian Kerbs, over 100 nursing homes have been hit in a ransomware attack, with the attackers asking for a $14 million fee to get them back their data.

Per the report, the attack was conducted using the Ryuk ransomware, notoriously known as one of the most dangerous in the world, despite only being discovered in the middle of last year. The ransomware has reportedly taken control of computers belonging to Virtual Care Provider Inc., an IT company based out of Wisconsin. 

Virtual Care provides cloud data storage services to these nursing homes, and by accessing its network, Ryuk was able to get a hold of all the data on these computers.

Attacks Threaten Companies’ Operations

As Kerbs notes, the company is unable to pay the ransom, and are now facing a dire situation as several of the healthcare companies it serves are facing crises due to a lack of access to their day. 

“We’ve got some facilities where the nurses can’t get the drugs updated and the orders put in so the drugs can arrive on time,” said Karen Christianson, the chief executive of the company, adding that there is a little assisted living facility that risks shutting their operations if they don’t get their billing data to Medicaid by December 5. 

A Continued Trend of Ransomware Hits

The rise of cryptocurrency ransomware has been astounding in 2019. Thanks to the rise in crypto prices, ransomware attackers have had a particular affinity for getting paid in Bitcoin.

Last month, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) released its 2019 Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) report, where it confirmed that crypto-ransomware is the most important threat faced by European crime investigators.

The law enforcement authority also posited that the trend of crimes is gravitating towards cryptocurrencies, and that entities which hold large amounts of cryptocurrencies will continue to be a target for financially motivated cybercrime gangs. 

“Law enforcement must continue to build trust-based relationships with cryptocurrency-related businesses, academia, and other relevant private sector entities, to more effectively tackle issues posed by cryptocurrencies during investigations,” the report added. 

In a bid to prepare for ransomware attackers, the Finnish Population Register Centre embarked on a program last week, where it trained over 200 government agencies and private companies on how to respond to ransomware attacks. Per the organizers, the aim of the program was to strengthen the ability of participants to handle cyber attacks more efficiently. The Population Registration Centre already conducted two of such pieces of training, with a third one set for this week. 

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