INTERPOL Issues Purple Notice to All Member Countries Due to Increased Ransomware Attacks
INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Threat Response team at its Cyber Fusion Centre posted a notice to healthcare organizations battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice warns hospitals and the healthcare industry that hackers are ramping up ransomware attack attempts. Hackers are attacking hospitals and medical services with ransomware attacks. INTERPOL has issued a Purple Notice alerting police in all its 194 member countries to the heightened ransomware threat.
A Purple Notice provides information on the modus operandi, procedures, or objects relating to the subject of the notice – in this case the ransomware attacks. INTERPOL recommends that all hospitals and healthcare organizations ensure their IT systems , servers, computers, and all internet connected devices like copiers and scanners are updated with the latest security patches.
“As hospitals and medical organizations around the world are working non-stop to preserve the well-being of individuals stricken with the coronavirus, they have become targets for ruthless cybercriminals who are looking to make a profit at the expense of sick patients,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
Although INTERPOL has no law enforcement ability in any area of the globe. However, it can provide support to member nations. There have been numerous email phishing campaigns circulating malware attacks, fraudulent websites, and misinformation circulating about the Coronavirus. Many COVID-19 themed phishing emails of them use logos and wording to give the reader they are World Health Organization (WHO), US Center for Disease Control (CDC), or other local government official communications.
For these cyberattacks INTERPOL is offering technical support including mitigation and protection to member countries.
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What is INTERPOL?
The International Criminal Police Organization more commonly known as ICPO- INTERPOL or INTERPOL that. INTERPOL was founded in 1923 in Vienna, Austria but now is headquartered in Lyon, France. INTERPOL is an international organization and has no law enforcement ability. The organization focuses cybercrime, terrorism, and organized crime. The agency has 194 member nations. The United States became a member of INTERPOL in 1938, right when the Nazis took over.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware attack which involves computer code that takes over a computer, phone, router, server or other internet connected device. Hackers use their malicious computer code, often sent via email, to control and lock a device and it files so the rightful owner cannot access anything. Control is not returned to the owner unless a ransom is paid to the hacker.
Hackers frequently target devices and software that has not been kept patches with the latest security updates from the manufacturer – which are usually free-of-charge.
How Healthcare Organizations Can Defend Against Ransomware
- Only download apps from the appropriate official app store or the manufacturer.
- Do not download apps from advertisements within games
- Only open emails or download software/applications from trusted sources
- NEVER open email attachments from someone you don’t know. Neve click on links in emails from unknown senders
- Use an antivirus app to secure email from phishing emails and SPAM
- Create regular backups of important files and hard drives. Store critical data externally, off the network
- Download and install antivirus software to safeguard all devices and emails against phishing emails and ransomware attacks. Be sure it is always running and monitoring the deice it is protecting
- Use a unique and difficult-to-guess password for all online systems, accounts, and hardware. Change the regularly and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Use a password manager to create strong passwords and to store them in a secure app.
Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers