US Pledges $10 Million Reward in Hunt for UnitedHealth Hackers | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Last month, a hacker group known as ALPHV BlackCat attacked the U.S. healthcare system.

Now, the federal government is offering a $10 million reward to help identify the people behind the organization.

“The ALPHV BlackCat ransomware-as-a-service group compromised computer networks of critical infrastructure sectors in the United States and worldwide, deploying ransomware on the targeted systems,” the U.S. Department of State said in announcing the reward Wednesday (March 27).

One of those systems was owned by UnitedHealth Group’s Change Healthcare, which suffered a data breach Feb. 21, disrupting services at providers and pharmacies around the country and prompting a federal investigation.

The company restored services and said last week it would begin processing more than $14 billion in claims as its clearinghouses came back online.

PYMNTS this month examined the fallout of the cyberattack, noting that healthcare, “like any other segment of the economy, has its own supply chains. And any supply chain needs to have backups, redundancies and emergency measures in place.”

The American Hospital Association said Feb. 22 that organizations should use the attack as a catalyst to test the security of their own networks and suggested “backup technology which renders the backups ‘immutable’ — unable to be deleted, altered or encrypted.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) — which enforces HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules — is also investigating the breach.

“Given the unprecedented magnitude of this cyberattack, and in the best interest of patients and health care providers, OCR is initiating an investigation into this incident,” OCR said March 13 in a “Dear Colleague” letter that deals with the incident. “OCR’s investigation of Change Healthcare and UHG will focus on whether a breach of protected health information occurred and Change Healthcare’s and UHG’s compliance with the HIPAA Rules.”

Last week, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia introduced legislation that would accelerate Medicare payments to healthcare providers victimized by cyberattacks, provided they and their vendors meet minimum cybersecurity standards.

“The recent hack of Change Healthcare is a reminder that the entire healthcare industry is vulnerable and needs to step up its game,” Warner said in a Friday (March 22) news release. “This legislation would provide some important financial incentives for providers and vendors to do so.”


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