Ransomware attack deadline passes, hospitals say they see no major data leaks | #ransomware | #cybercrime

CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) – A deadline has come and gone and officials say no major data leaks have been seen for Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg.

This past Tuesday’s deadline was set by those behind a ransomware attack on the facilities.

The hospitals’ CEO Rich Duvall tells 7 News the FBI told him the hospitals in Carthage and Ogdensburg were doing everything right – the systems were protected well. But when it comes to ransomware attackers, they just don’t give up.

“This group is incredibly sophisticated and has done this, done attacks internationally to multiple organizations across the globe,” said Duvall.

The hospitals were hit on August 31 by LockBit, a name given to a specific piece of malware, with the criminal organization behind it also carrying that name.

“I think that is just a metaphor, a name that gives you a sense of the nature of the operation,” said Daqing Hou, professor and director of software engineering at Clarkson University. “The way that this operates at a very high level is for the thief to gain access to your system, and then to use compression technology to zip up your critical information and then ask for ransom.”

Hou says the best way to explain how dangerous a ransomware attack can be is to think of it as losing your house’s front door key.

“Lose your key to your front door right, you’re in danger. Everything is subject to theft,” he said.

For Duvall though, it seems like for as many locks he can put on the hospital’s door the cyber attackers are not going to stop trying to get in.

“We’ve been advised by the FBI, and our cyber security experts that no matter what protections you have in place, literally the day they come out, they’re almost antiquated because these criminals are so quick and sophisticated in learning out how to break into various systems,” said Duvall.

Reports indicate the attackers behind LockBit are likely overseas, maybe in Russia. This malware has recently hit other hospitals around the country and a large school system in Florida.

Duvall says CAH and Claxton-Hepburn have control of their systems and both facilities remain open to help patients.

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