US disrupts North Korean hackers that targeted hospitals - Albuquerque Journal

US disrupts North Korean hackers that targeted hospitals

NEW YORK — The FBI and Justice Department recently disrupted the activities of a hacking group that was sponsored by the North Korean government and that targeted U.S. hospitals with ransomware, ultimately recovering half a million dollars in ransom payments and cryptocurrency, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Tuesday.

Monaco revealed new details of the attacks during a speech in which she encouraged organizations hit by ransomware to report the crime to law enforcement, both so that officials can investigate and so that they can help victim companies try to get ransom payments back.

In this case, Monaco said, a Kansas hospital that paid a ransom last year after being attacked by ransomware also contacted the FBI, which traced the payment and identified China-based money launderers who assisted the North Korean hackers in cashing out the illicit proceeds. The FBI was able to recover half a million dollars, including the entire ransom payment from the hospital.

“If you report that attack, if you report the ransom demand and payment, if you work with the FBI, we can take action,” Monaco said at the International Conference on Cyber Security, hosted by Fordham University. “We can follow the money and get it back; we can help prevent the next attack, the next victim; and we can hold cybercriminals accountable.”

U.S. officials in 2021 scrambled to confront a wave of high-profile ransomware attacks — in which hackers encrypt or lock up a victim’s data and demand exorbitant sums to return it — including against a crucial fuel pipeline on the East Coast. Though the pace of such large-scale, front-page attacks seems to have slowed, smaller targets — such as hospitals — continue to be affected.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the same conference that a particular challenge is that ransomware, once largely the province of garden-variety cyber criminals looking to extort cash, is now being increasingly deployed by hostile governments who are eager for destruction.

“The other thing we’re seeing more and more of is ransomware actors doing more than just locking up the system,” Wray said. “They’re exfiltrating the information, they’re threatening to release your proprietary information.”

This particular variant of ransomware, known as “Maui,” specifically targeted hospitals and public health organizations around the country.

Justice Department officials say the attack on the Kansas hospital, which they did not identify, took place in May 2021 when hackers encrypted the medical center’s files and servers. The hospital paid about $100,000 in Bitcoin to get its data back.

The department said that in addition to recovering the payment from the Kansas hospital, it also got back a payment from a health care provider in Colorado that was affected by the same Maui ransomware variant.

____

Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Home » Business » Health & Safety » US disrupts North Korean hackers that targeted hospitals


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
US rules out summer COVID boosters to focus on ...
Health & Safety
U.S. regulators said Friday they are ... U.S. regulators said Friday they are no longer considering authorizing a second COVID-19 booster shot for all adults under 50 this summer, focusing instead ...
2
Deal on Capitol Hill could ease seniors' health costs
Health & Safety
A deal on Capitol Hill that ... A deal on Capitol Hill that could cut prescription drug costs for millions of Medicare beneficiaries was cautiously cheered by older Americans and their ...
3
US signs off on 800,000 more doses of monkeypox ...
Health & Safety
After weeks of delays, nearly 800,000 ... After weeks of delays, nearly 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine will soon be available for distribution, U.S. health regulators said Wednesday. The announcement ...
4
Whistleblowers hit Southwest, FAA for lax safety practices
Health & Safety
Federal officials say that Southwest Airlines ... Federal officials say that Southwest Airlines and the union representing its pilots have resisted cooperating with investigations into accidents and other incidents and pushed ...
5
Feds sue poultry producers, alleging unfair worker practices
Health & Safety
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit ... The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Monday against some of the largest poultry producers in the U.S. along with a proposed settlement seeking to ...
6
Medical company to pay $16M to resolve false billing ...
Health & Safety
A national medical testing company has ... A national medical testing company has agreed to pay $16 million to resolve allegations that it submitted claims for payment for medically unnecessary tests ...
7
US disrupts North Korean hackers that targeted hospitals
Health & Safety
The FBI and Justice Department recently ... The FBI and Justice Department recently disrupted the activities of a hacking group that was sponsored by the North Korean government and that targeted ...
8
Fauci expects to retire by end of Biden's current ...
Health & Safety
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top ... Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said Monday he plans to retire by the end of President Joe Biden's term in ...
9
State signs $1M contract for emergency bridge repair
ABQnews Seeker
'The bridge could fail completely,' says ... 'The bridge could fail completely,' says DOT justification for the no-bid procurement