Waves of attacks on US hospitals show a change in tactics for cybercriminals

Electronic Health Records

Photo by David S. Holloway/Getty Images

United States hospitals were targeted by two major cybersecurity attacks this fall: the first taking down Universal Health Services, a chain of hundreds of hospitals, and the second by a group called UNC1878 threatening hundreds of individual health care facilities all around the country. Targeting health care institutions directly marks a new approach for cybercriminals.

“We haven’t seen an incident of magnitude that actually has the potential to harm people, literally all the way up to the point of death,” says Caleb Barlow, CEO of cybersecurity consulting firm CynergisTek. “It crosses a line that I think the entire cybersecurity community just didn’t think was going to get crossed anytime soon.”

Many large-scale cyberattacks on…

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