Malicious crypto-miners have supplanted ransomware as the top healthcare cybersecurity threat, a cross-sector report revealed.

The April 2018 edition of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)’s “Healthcare and Cross-Sector Cybersecurity Report,” which referenced the recent “Comodo Cybersecurity Q1 2018 Report,” found that crypto-miner attacks increased over the course of the quarter while ransomware attacks decreased.

Comodo’s researchers also noted that attackers are debuting innovations for embedding malware within crypto-miners, a trend that could indicate a preference among bad actors for cryptojacking over more traditional threats.

Crypto-Miners, Backdoors and More

On June 11 at the Healthcare Security Forum, Lee Kim, privacy and security director for HIMSS, will present her a talk titled “Through the Looking Glass: What’s Happening Now and in the Future.” Her session will expand on some of the findings from the April 2018 HIMSS report.

In addition to crypto-miners, HIMSS featured other threats in its roundup, including an authentication bypass vulnerability that facilitates code execution with root privileges on some ASUS routers. The report noted that public exploits are readily available for this weakness.

HIMSS also covered a threat group targeting healthcare firms with a custom backdoor, a remote code execution vulnerability in the 7-Zip program and a Python-based crypto-miner that uses the ETERNALROMANCE exploit to spread to vulnerable Windows PCs.

Improving Healthcare Cybersecurity, One Asset at a Time

Ahead of her presentation at the Healthcare Security Forum, Lee advised healthcare organizations to take inventory of their assets’ locations and configurations. That way, security teams will be in a better position to defend the network from national-state actors, criminals and zealous competitors.

“Think like an attacker and a defender,” she advised, as quoted by Healthcare IT News. “Know how the enemy moves, what they go after, and who they may be — this intelligence can go a long way.”

Lee also emphasized the importance of establishing communication channels for defending against phishing emails.

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