Ransomware groups continue assault on healthcare orgs as COVID-19 infections increase

Ransomware groups have shown no signs of slowing down their assault on hospitals, seemingly ramping up attacks on healthcare institutions as dozens of countries deal with a new wave of COVID-19 infections thanks to the potent Delta variant. 

Vice Society, one of the newer ransomware groups, debuted in June and made a name for themselves by attacking multiple hospitals and leaking patient info. Cybersecurity researchers at Cisco Talos said Vice Society is known to be “quick to exploit new security vulnerabilities to help ransomware attacks” and frequently exploits Windows PrintNightmare vulnerabilities during attacks. 

“As with other threat actors operating in the big-game hunting space, Vice Society operates a data leak site, which they use to publish data exfiltrated from victims who do not choose to pay their extortion demands,” Cisco Talos explained last month. 

Cybersecurity firm Dark Owl added that Vice Society is “assessed to be a possible spin-off of the Hello Kitty ransomware variant based on similarities in the techniques used for Linux system encryption.” They were implicated in a ransomware attack on the Swiss city of Rolle in August, according to Black Fog. 


The Vice Society leak site. 

Cisco Talos

Multiple hospitals — Eskenazi Health, Waikato DHB and Centre Hospitalier D’Arles — have been featured on the criminal group’s leak site and the group made waves this week by posting the data of Barlow Respiratory Hospital in California.

The hospital was attacked on August 27 but managed to avoid the worst, noting in a statement that “no patients were at risk of harm” and “hospital operations continued without interruption.”

Barlow Respiratory Hospital told ZDNet that law enforcement was immediately notified once the hospital noticed the ransomware impacting some of its IT systems. 

“Though we have taken extensive efforts to protect the privacy of our information, we learned that some data was removed from certain backup systems without…