Locky Ransomware to Ramp Up Attack on Hospitals
Recently there have been large cases reported where attack caused by Ransomware has been prevalent. At the beginning of year 2016, hundreds of variants of ransomware have been active and targeted Large Firms and Organizations for heavy Lump sum amount as Ransom to be paid for the hostage files. No matter whatever or whichever may be the variants, but ultimately the result stands to be the same and that is file encryption. In Cyber World, malware is written on daily basis for targeting system running on security loopholes. This has made stored data most vulnerable for hacking and to be held hostage for ransom. Whenever we come across ransom, we get a feeling of some hefty amount to be paid as Lump sum. This also holds true in case of Ransom Lock virus aka Ransomware, which is a nasty malware that encrypts files and then demand a ransom for getting files decrypted. Demand for ransom is often made by attaching a ransom note pressurizing victims to pay the amount within a stipulated time frame. Failing to do so will lead to permanent loss of files.
Ransomware has turned out to be one such nuisance that is hard to deal with. There have been various cases reported in recent times where the extent of damage caused by Ransom Lock virus has been severe. First the soft target was Windows users but now even Mac platform had been recently targeted. In Feb, Medical Center as Hollywood Presbyterian was targeted and all the files stored in their database was encrypted. The healthcare reports of several patients of Medical Center was held hostage for ransom and was on the hold. It came as a major setback for the hospital and they immediately decided to sort out the issue by paying the ransom amount to hackers. This was done as the reputation of the Medical Center was at stake and they wanted to pay the ransom in order to have their data decrypted to restore files of the database.
According to the reports Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had to pay a hefty amount of as much as $17000 in order to have their data decrypted. This gave an easy way out for the hackers and now they are making attempt to ransack data for ransom and attack other hospitals and Medical Center. Since the reputation of hospitals were at stake and they do not have any other options left other than to bow down to hackers and pay out hefty amount as Lump sum at once. This is not just only one instance where such a case of ransomware attack has been reported. Similar case was reported in the Whanganui District Health Board in New Zealand. A nasty variant of Locky Ransomware had encrypted files of some of the systems. What came as a major respite, only some of the Computers was infected by variant of Locky ransomware and they decided to perform their work without paying the ransom.
This is not the end of plethora, there is more to the instances where ransomware attacks have been known. In California, hospitals located at Chino Valley and Desert Valley got some how infiltrated with nasty ransomware virus. Ultimately the IT segment of the hospital had to isolate the system that ransom lock virus had targeted and had to mange with the remaining few systems only. Similarly, Locky Ransomware also encrypted files at the King’s Daughters’ Health Hospital, Madison in Indiana.
Without going in much details about the nature of file encryption targeted by Locky Ransomware, one thing is evident, that this variant changed or modified the encrypted file extension to Locky. Their mode of operation is also similar like any other ransomware as they spread through spam and corrupted email messages and attachments. Prevalent cases where users have clicked on such mails and have been an easy victim as the ransom Lock virus got an opportunity to get installed on to the system.