Ransomware Groups Target Public Companies and Healthcare 


Fake medical documents and fabricated “evidence” are two new schemes being deployed by ransomware groups.

Krebs on Security reported Thursday (Dec. 8) that these schemes are being deployed by groups that have had trouble getting paid via other ransomware methods.

In one new scam, healthcare organizations that offer telemedicine are being sent fake medical records such as test results. To boost their chances of success with the scheme, the groups focus on records that are most likely to be used in a remote diagnosis, according to the report.

The other new ransomware scheme highlighted in the report targets public company executives. Here, the groups gain access to the target’s email inbox and plant fabricated evidence of insider trading. Since this creates the potential for a public scandal and significant jail time, the thinking is that the target will be more likely to pay a ransom, the report said.

PYMNTS research has found that 85% of healthcare organizations reported witnessing increasing risks over the last year, with 58% of IT professionals saying their organizations were hit by ransomware attacks.

Hackers are drawn to virtual healthcare as it offers them a feast of vulnerable data, with services often happening right on a patient’s smartphone or laptop, according to the “Digital Identity Tracker,” a PYMNTS and Jumio collaboration.

Financial institutions have been targeted too. As PYMNTS reported Nov. 1, the number of ransomware attacks reported by financial institutions (FIs) and occurring in 2021 was double the number that occurred during the previous year.

The number leapt 108% from 602 in 2020 to 1,251 in 2021, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reported Nov. 1 in its latest Financial Trend Analysis report.

The dollar amounts involved in those ransomware-related incidents rose 68% from $527 million in 2020 to $886 million in 2021, according to the report.