These are new product announcements from my main website (Open 24/7/365). We have a life-time warranty / guarantee on all products. (Includes parts and labor). Here you will find a variety of cutting-edge Surveillance and Security-Related products and services. (Buy/Rent/Layaway) Post your own comments and concerns related to the specific products or services mentioned or on surveillance, security, privacy, etc.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Health-Care CIOs Share Security Best Practices To Prevent Rasomware Threats

Health-Care CIOs Share Security Best Practices To Prevent Rasomware Threats

Hospital chief information officers say the health-care industry now needs to assume attackers are going to get into hospital networks. The key to avoiding damage, they say, is detection, response and containment.

Attackers encrypted data at Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Kentucky and were holding it for ransom, security blogger Brian Krebs reported Wednesday. Additionally, NBC reported that two other hospitals were also recently victims of so-called ransomware attacks. Those attacks comes a little more than a month after Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center said it had paid hackers 40 bitcoins, about $17,000, after an attack made certain systems unusable for more than two weeks.

Methodist Hospital did not respond to a request for comment.
Traditionally, hospitals have focused on prevention, Darren Dworkin, chief information officer at Cedars-Sinai told CIO Journal. “You still have to do that, but at the same time you need to acknowledge that stuff will come through so you can detect it, catch it, and contain it,” he said.


Another hospital faced a problem with ransomware when a nurse clicked on a bad link, said a CIO who asked not to be identified. By isolating the laptop from the rest of the network, the CIO was able to contain the problem from spreading. These attacks can spread rapidly throughout a network, he said.

Related Information: 
Healthcare Podcasters Talk Security (Blab)
The CIO used backups to quickly restore the data. It’s crucial to have data that’s frequently backed up, he said. The difference between a problem that’s caught and quickly handled and one that ends with a hospital paying thousands of dollars to hackers is often good backups.

Malicious software often enters health-care organizations when an employee clicks on a bad link or downloads a bad attachment. The malicious software then targets unpatched software on the victim’s computer. There are many Windows-based systems in health care and the patching of software is notoriously poor, said Scott Donnelly, senior analyst at Recorded Future, a security firm that sells real-time threat intelligence.

According to the company’s analysis, recent ransomware has targeted vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight. Mr. Donnelly suggests updating that software as well as Web browsers.

The best defense in the short term is to educate employees not to open unexpected attachments, click on any link embedded in an email and not to provide any personal information to unknown callers, said John D. Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in an email message.

“Millions can be spent on technical security but you’re still as vulnerable as the most gullible employee who provides their password in response to a phishing email or inserts an infected USB drive,” he added.

Related Story:

Virus Infects MedStar Health System’s Computers
A virus infected the computer system of MedStar Health on Monday, forcing one of the Washington region’s largest health care providers to shut down significant portions of its online operations.

Hospital officials acknowledged the breach, which is being investigated by the FBI, but said they had “no evidence that information has been stolen.”
“MedStar acted quickly with a decision to take down all system interfaces to prevent the virus from spreading throughout the organization,” spokeswoman Ann Nickels said in a statement. “We are working with our IT and cyber-security partners to fully assess and address the situation. Currently, all of our clinical facilities remain open and functioning.”

The $5 billion health-care system operates 10 hospitals and more than 250 outpatient facilities in the Washington region. It serves hundreds of thousands of patients and employs more than 30,000 people.
Hospital staff reported that they were unable to access email or a vast database of patient records.


One employee told The Post that the entire MedStar computer system was inaccessible.
“Even the lowest level staff can’t communicate with anyone. You can’t schedule patients, you can’t access records, you can’t do anything,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used because she wasn’t authorized to speak about the incident.

The woman also said she spoke to two other employees who saw a pop-up on their computer screens stating that they had been infected by a virus and asking for ransom in “some kind of internet currency.” She has not seen the pop-up herself.
Though the nature of the MedStar infection remains unclear, Nickels said Monday she had “not been told that it’s a ransom situation.”
“Ransomware” — a virus that holds systems hostage until victims pay for a key to regain access — has twice been deployed against hospitals in recent cyber attacks.
Last month, a hospital in Los Angeles paid hackers $17,000 in bitcoins, an internet currency, to free its system. Two weeks ago, a Kentucky facility announced it was in an “internal state of emergency” after a similar attack.

Wireless Camera Finder

For MedStar, the infection’s impact may be widespread as staff members are forced to use paper charts and records.
“Everything will be slowed down tremendously,” said a man who has worked closely with the hospital for 15 years. “It’s huge.”
Appointments and surgeries will be delayed, he said, adding that it will take longer for lab results to come back, patients to receive tests and medications to be ordered.
MedStar has not announced how long it expects the system to remain offline.

Updated 4-11-2016

Researchers Say New Generation of Ransomware Emerging

An unusual strain of virus-like hacker software that exploits computer server vulnerabilities without requiring human interaction is a leading example of a new generation of "ransomware," according to a new report by Cisco Systems Inc.
Hackers use such software to target large-scale networks and hold data hostage in exchange for bigger payments. Such a strain, known as Samas or samsam, hit the MedStar Health Inc. hospital chain in the U.S. last month.
In such attacks, hackers target backup files and records, encrypting them to make them unreadable. To regain access, users without additional safe backups who don't want to lose critical files often pay the ransom, typically $10,000 to $15,000 for an entire network or hundreds of dollars for a single computer.

The ability to demand payment in bitcoin, a difficult-to-trace virtual currency not controlled by any country, was "basically the birth of ransomware" and has helped drive its success since the currency's introduction in 2009, said Craig Williams, a senior technical leader at Cisco's Talos security research group.
Samas exploits vulnerabilities giving hackers a way into JBoss application servers that are frequently used by some of the largest corporations. Once inside, the hackers sometimes implant a tool that steals credentials, allowing it to spread through the system, and encrypt scores of digital files along the way.
Ransomware has become a new targeted attack, with thousands of variants emerging over the last six months, said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of Crowdstrike Inc.


Most ransomware still requires a human to click a link or open an infected email attachment, but Cisco's report warned that "the age of self-propagating ransomware, or cryptoworms, is right around the corner." Worms are generally virus-like infections that are programmed to spread automatically, without human interaction.
Ransomware has become an increasing threat over the last six months. Last year's 2,453 reports of ransomware hackings to the FBI totaled a reported loss of $24.1 million, making up nearly one-third of the complaints over the past decade. They also represented 41 percent of the $57.6 million in reported losses since 2005.
Such losses are significantly higher than any paid ransoms because companies routinely include remediation costs, lost productivity, legal fees and sometimes even the price of lost data in their estimates.

Your questions and comments are greatly appreciated.

Monty Henry, Owner


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