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Ransomware Attack Disrupts Operations in London Hospitals, Russian Cyber Gang Believed to Be Behind It : Tech : Tech Times | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

In a concerning turn of events, London hospitals faced a major disruption earlier this week due to a ransomware attack believed to be orchestrated by a Russian cyber gang.

This incident is one of the most serious ransomware attacks in the UK, effectively halting hospital operations. 

A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack on June 27, 2017 in Geldrop.
(Photo : ROB ENGELAAR/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

London Hospitals Paralyzed by Ransomware Attack

According to Ciaran Martin, the former head of the National Cyber Security Centre, a Russian group of cyber criminals is behind the ransomware attack that disrupted London hospitals.

Martin told BBC Radio 4 that the attack on Synnovis, a provider of pathology lab services for some National Health Service (NHS) hospitals, is likely the work of the Russian group known as Qilin. 

The Associated Press reported that this incident is considered one of the more serious ransomware attacks in the UK because it disabled hospital operations. Martin noted that it was a more serious type of ransomware that caused the system to stop working.

The Monday incident affected King’s College and Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital trusts, which manage some hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s practices in south London.

A memo to staff labeled it as a “critical incident,” noting a significant impact on services, especially blood transfusions. As a result, procedures and operations were either canceled or moved to different locations.

Police were notified about the incident. Synnovis Chief Executive Mark Dollar said on Tuesday that they were still in the process of understanding the situation. However, as of Wednesday, the company has still not issued any statement regarding the incident.

Read Also: Hospitals Are Becoming More Vulnerable to Cyberattacks, Experts Warn

Challenges, Vulnerabilities in Healthcare Cybersecurity

Ransomware is a type of cybercrime where criminals use malware to freeze computer systems and demand money for their release. It is considered the most costly and disruptive form of cybercrime, impacting various sectors like local governments, court systems, hospitals, schools, and businesses. 

Combatting ransomware is challenging because many of these criminal groups operate from former Soviet states beyond the reach of Western justice systems.

Last year, the Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, California, faced a cybersecurity crisis, leading to an “internal disaster” declaration and the redirection of ambulance traffic to other healthcare facilities.

The hospital is dealing with the fallout of a cyber attack, prompting immediate actions to limit harm and protect patient records. As hospitals increasingly depend on online technology, cybersecurity experts cautioned that they are becoming more vulnerable to cyberattacks, which present significant challenges to patient care and data security.

John Riggi, a cybersecurity adviser for the American Hospital Association, pointed out the unintended consequences of hospitals’ expanded digital footprint. This growth provides cybercriminals numerous opportunities to infiltrate their networks and hold critical systems hostage for substantial ransoms.

Unfortunately, Riggi explained that the use of extensive network and internet-connected technology has broadened the digital attack surface. This means that cybercriminals now have many more opportunities to breach hospital networks.

Related Article: California Hospital Declares’ Internal Disaster’ After Suffering from Cyber Attack

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