72% increase in cyberattacks against the healthcare sector this weekend


Several cyber attacks were prevented by the health ministry’s cybersecurity center over the weekend, the health ministry said on Sunday morning.

Some 627 cyber attacks per organization were seen in the health sector in Israel, 72% more than the average for previous weekends, Check Point said. It’s also more than any other industry, where there has been an average of 267 attacks per organization and no significant increase, the cybersecurity firm noted.

Among the targeted hospitals was Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, which is headed by former director general of the health ministry, Chezy Levy, Levy told Ynet.

Check Point said it believes one of the reasons for the increase is that hackers might think that due to the successful attack on Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera last week, the Israeli health sector is not properly protected.

As the organization reported last week, the sector is “seriously under attack” anyway.

Barzilai Medical Center (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In fact, there has been an almost 600% increase in the number of reports of ransomware attacks by Israel over the past 19 months – between January 2020 and September 2021 – according to a report released last week by the company. Cyber ​​Security VirusTotal.

The Ransomware Activity Report examined 80 million ransomware samples from over 130 different ransomware families targeting over 140 countries.

A ransomware attack damages the information system by encrypting its files and denying an organization or user access to the file. This allows those responsible for the attack to demand a ransom in order to decrypt the files.

Israel tops the list of most targeted countries based on number of submissions, followed by South Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Iran and the United Kingdom.

The report also showed that Windows accounts for 95% of ransomware targets, compared to Android 2%.

Last Wednesday, Hillel Yaffe was the victim of a ransomware attack that targeted his computer systems and managed to penetrate his IT infrastructure.

The hacker group that targeted the Hillel Yaffe was also responsible for a similar attack on a US hospital, where they demanded $ 10 million in ransom, Israeli media reported.

According to Ynet, the ransomware is known as DeepBlueMagic.

It was first identified by Danish security firm Heimdal, the American legal journal National Law Review reported in August.

This particular type of ransomware uses an innovative type of encryption and is particularly insidious as it manages to bypass the protection tools installed in the system to keep it safe.

While Hillel Yaffe continued to work on alternative systems to receive and treat critical patients, on Sunday hospital staff and the Department of Health were still working to get their IT systems back up and running with added protection.

At the same time, the Ministry and the National Cyber ​​Security Authority have been working to strengthen the level of protection in all of Israel’s healthcare organizations.

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