Daily Digest (10/30)

Ransomware Attacks Threaten US Hospital Systems, FBI Warns; Wikipedia Locks Presidential Page a Week Before US Election; $2.3M Allegedly Stolen by Hackers, WISGOP Says; Report: UK Agency Not Holding Companies Accountable for Breaking Rules.

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Ransomware Attacks Threaten US Hospital Systems, FBI Warns

Federal agencies have released an alert warning that cybercriminals have unleashed a wave of data-scrambling extortion attempts on the U.S. health care system, affecting hospital-information systems.

The Wednesday report said malicious hacking groups were targeting hospitals and health care providers, which could hurt patient care, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Associated Press reports.

“We are experiencing the most significant cybersecurity threat we’ve ever seen in the United States,” said Charles Carmakal, chief technical officer of the Mandiant cybersecurity firm.

Officials said the attacks used ransomware to scramble data to lock systems until targets paid ransoms.

This week alone the ransomware attacks have disrupted five U.S. hospitals, security officials told AP.

In the last 18 months, cities from Baltimore to Atlanta have experienced ransomware hits to local governments, schools and, now, health care systems.

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Wikipedia Locks Presidential Page a Week Before US Election

Wikipedia locked down its U.S. presidential election page Tuesday in order to combat election disinformation a week before Nov. 3.

The free online encyclopedia relies heavily on unpaid volunteers and the Google and Amazon tech platforms to provide information, Reuters reports.

“We’re not worried about vandals who want to just mess up an article in order to cause a little trouble,” Ryan Merkley, chief of staff at the Wikimedia Foundation, told Reuters.

“We’re really worried about coordinated actors … trying to find a way to disseminate information.”

Wikipedia has given access to certain editors to update the presidential information. Otherwise, it will be locked down until the election is over, Reuters reports.

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$2.3M Allegedly Stolen by Hackers, WISGOP Says

The Wisconsin Republican Party said Thursday that hackers stole $2.3 million from the party’s account that was used to help reelect President Donald Trump.

State Party Chairman Andrew Hitt told The Associated Press that officials noticed suspicious activity last Thursday and told the FBI the next day.

“The FBI is not permitted to confirm or deny an investigation,” an FBI spokesman told AP.

The alleged hack was discovered less than two weeks before Nov. 3, as President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden made their final pushes to win Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, according to AP.

Hitt also warned other state parties to watch for election-related cyberattacks, but said he was unaware if other state GOP was targeted.

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Report: UK Agency Not Holding Companies Accountable for Breaking Rules

The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) continues to struggle in collecting monetary fines from companies that have breached information-rights laws, according to Freedom of Information (FOI) data.

Data from last year revealed that ICO had yet to collect payments from 2015, totaling more than $9 million in unpaid fines, Infosecurity reports.

In more recent findings, FOI data showed that only nine of the 21 fines leveled between January 2019 and August of this year have been paid.

Henry Cazalet, director of the SMS Works texting service, told Infosecurity that the agency had the resources to collect the payments.

“The ICO does, after all, employ over 500 staff in four offices across the U.K., so it’s not short of manpower,” Cazalet said. 

Cazalet alleged that companies still could break privacy rules easily, arguing that ICO should levy smaller fines for a better chance of receiving the payments, Infosecurity reports.

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— By DPN Staff