There have been many attempted attacks by cybercriminals on US healthcare centers, hospitals, and clinics all over the country. The fear is that a ransomware attack – something that has hit individual hospitals over the past two to three years – could take down many more, leaving patients with no medical history and hospitals with no hope of helping them.
The reason behind these past attacks and the potentially large one that might come is money. The ransomware developers, otherwise known as cybercriminals, use their computing knowledge to find any small area of vulnerability within the hospital’s current IT network and send viruses and other programs through. This essentially holds the entire network to ransom (hence the name) until one of two things happen; either the hospital agrees to the cybercriminal’s demands and pays a large sum of money, or they don’t, in which case the data is deleted, or the sensitive information is leaked to the dark web, enabling other cybercriminals to use it for identity theft, fraud, or even blackmail reasons. It is not thought to be a political move.