URGENT: U.S. Hospitals Targeted in Rising Wave of Ransomware Attacks

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

A joint advisory by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI says there is “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat” to U.S. hospitals and health care providers.  

[Author’s Note: There are already several hospitals/hospital systems throughout the country that are dealing with such attacks in the past 24 – 48 hours.  This threat is very real.  One of my colleagues is working with 3 hospitals that have been attacked as we speak.  Please share this information with your administration and IT departments immediately.]

Summary

This advisory was updated to include information on Conti, TrickBot, and BazarLoader, including new IOCs and Yara Rules for detection.

This advisory uses the MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK®) version 7 framework. See the ATT&CK for Enterprise version 7 for all referenced threat actor tactics and techniques.

This joint cybersecurity advisory was coauthored by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This advisory describes the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by cybercriminals against targets in the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector to infect systems with ransomware, notably Ryuk and Conti, for financial gain.

CISA, FBI, and HHS have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers. CISA, FBI, and HHS are sharing this information to provide warning to healthcare providers to ensure that they take timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats.

Click here for a PDF version of this report. (Much more information and very specific details is found in the joint advisory as well as the 22-page PDF.)  

Key Findings

  • CISA, FBI, and HHS assess malicious cyber actors are targeting the HPH Sector with TrickBot and BazarLoader malware, often leading to ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of healthcare services.
  • These issues will be particularly challenging for organizations within the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, administrators will need to balance this risk when determining their cybersecurity investments.

Threat Details

The cybercriminal enterprise behind TrickBot, which is likely also the creator of BazarLoader malware, has continued to develop new functionality and tools, increasing the ease, speed, and profitability of victimization. These threat actors increasingly use loaders—like TrickBot and BazarLoader (or BazarBackdoor)—as part of their malicious cyber campaigns. Cybercriminals disseminate TrickBot and BazarLoader via phishing campaigns that contain either links to malicious websites that host the malware or attachments with the malware. Loaders start the infection chain by distributing the payload; they deploy and execute the backdoor from the command and control (C2) server and install it on the victim’s machine.

For media coverage, I offer these recent postings:

NPR … U.S. Hospitals Targeted In Rising Wave Of Ransomware Attacks, Federal Agencies Say

CNN … Several hospitals targeted in new wave of ransomware attacks

The Wall Street Journal … Hackers Hit Hospitals in Disruptive Ransomware Attack

The Washington Post … Hospitals being hit in coordinated, targeted ransomware attack from Russian-speaking criminals