Hospitals and other health institutions that are fighting the new coronavirus have gained yet another enemy to fight in this pandemic period. These are ransomware attacks, which prevent access to the online systems of these establishments, requiring payment of ransom for the release of files.
In a statement released last Saturday (4), the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) said it had detected a significant increase in the number of such attempted attacks against organizations directly involved in responding to covid-19. The warning was given in the 194 member countries.
Interpol highlights that the use of this online scam prevents professionals from hospitals and medical services from having access to essential files and systems to deal with the disease. As a result, their work is greatly impaired and can even lead to an increase in the number of deaths.
According to the organization, the attacks are spreading mainly through e-mails. To deceive recipients, the false messages claim to bring information and guidance about the coronavirus, supposedly sent by government agencies. They further encourage the recipient to open an infected attachment or click on a malicious link.
Prevention is essential to prevent attacks
To minimize the risk of disruption in the event of a ransomware attack, Interpol is encouraging healthcare institutions to back up all essential data and store it outside the main systems.
The organization, which is providing technical support to help protect critical medical infrastructure, also claimed to have collected a list of suspicious covid-19-related domains for analysis and evaluation, with the aim of taking further action soon.
She also mentioned other ways of preventing ransomware, which are valid for anyone, such as avoiding opening emails and downloading files from unknown sources or clicking on suspicious links. It is also essential to keep the operating system up to date, use security programs such as antivirus and create strong and unique passwords, changing them regularly.