Healthcare Institutions Are Under Ransomware Attacks Warns FBI

Healthcare institutions across the country are being warned by the FBI regarding emerging ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is increasingly being used by hackers to extort money from companies. Many Healthcare organizations are being targeted. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that takes over your computer and prevents you from accessing files until you pay a ransom. Those hackers understand the value of PHI which is why they are targeting the healthcare industry specifically.

Arun Douglas, MSc Chief Technology/Security Officer

Arun Douglas, MSc, Chief Technology/Security Officer

Many healthcare companies including Collaborative Imaging maintain controls to help protect the networks and computers from this type of attack. However, some hackers change attack scenarios quickly which is why it is important for all healthcare employees to understand that they are the first line of defense. Here are some simple things you can do to help avoid a ransomware/malware attack:

Think Before You Click:

The most common way ransomware enters corporate networks is through email. Often, scammers will include malicious links or attachments in emails that look harmless. To avoid this trap, please observe the following email best practices:

  • Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip or other compressed or executable file types.
  • Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email.
  • Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names.
  • If you can’t tell if an email is legitimate or not, please contact the IT helpdesk.
  • Be especially cautious when opening attachments or clicking links if you receive an email containing a warning banner indicating that it originated from an external source.
  • Personal Email platforms like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook are also at risk. Please do not access these platforms from company workstations.
  • Be wary of links to shared documents (SharePoint, Dropbox and the like) from outside the network

If Something Seems Wrong, Notify IT

If your computer is infected with ransomware, you will typically be locked out of all programs and a “ransom screen” will appear. In the unfortunate event that you click a link or attachment that you suspect is malware or ransomware, please notify IT immediately.

By Arun Douglas, Chief Technology/Security Officer at Collaborative Imaging.