North Korean state-sponsored hackers targeting health sector, federal agencies warn
State-sponsored hackers from North Korea have been targeting health care organizations, a group of federal agencies warned on Wednesday.
Driving the news: The FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Treasury Department issued a joint advisory, warning that these cyber actors have been targeting health care organizations with ransomware — a type of computer code that encrypts a computer's files and renders them unusable until a ransom is paid.
- These incidents, which have been occurring since May 2021, have disrupted health care services for "prolonged periods" of time, according to the advisory.
- Since health care organizations provide services that are "critical to human life and health," North Korean hackers assume that they will be willing to pay ransoms, making them a continuing target, the advisory noted.
The federal agencies recommended that health care organizations maintain an offline backup of data to reduce downtime from a ransomware attack and preserve data.
- They also recommended that organizations have a plan to respond to a ransomware incident, regularly update their systems, conduct user training and require multi-factor authentication as much as possible, among other recommendations.
But, but, but: The U.S. government is still woefully short of workers with needed cybersecurity skills.