Hackers are increasingly targeting health-care institutions and threatening people’s well-being as their software attacks get more sophisticated and brazen.
Ransomware attacks, in which hackers cripple a software system until they receive a bounty, have surged this year, along with financial demands, security experts say. The attacks have been around for decades but have flourished as society has become more dependent on technology. Other factors include the rise of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, more advanced hacking techniques and, some say, the widespread adoption of cyber insurance.
“The trend has been going up for a while, but in 2020 it has just been skyrocketing,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, the chairman of Silverado Policy Accelerator, a nonprofit think tank focused on cybersecurity.
Hackers have expanded their targets to include health-care companies. This week, one of the nation’s largest hospital chains,
Universal Health Services Inc.,
diverted ambulances from some facilities after a crippling ransomware attack. It