Cancer Center Patients Become Attempted Victims of Data Extortion

Healthcare Ransomware AttacksCybercriminals of the lowest kind breached as many as 800,000 patients and then sent emails threatening to sell their data if they didn’t pay a fee to block it from selling.

One such attack is the recent data exfiltration attack on Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center over Thanksgiving week. But when you stop and think about what kinds of data can be stolen from such a business, you quickly realize that all the cancer center has to “offer” cybercriminals is patient data of people going through one of the toughest challenges of their lives.  We’ve all heard the phrase “cancer sucks”; it’s one of those words that, when uttered, puts everyone around the patient on edge and on notice… your loved one may die.

At some point in the attack, these dirt bag cybercriminals knew very well the circumstances the individuals they’d be targeting were going through.

And yet, they continued the attack.

It’s evident they knew because the very next step in the attack was to send threatening emails to the patients, including the text:

“If you are reading this, your data has been stolen and will soon be sold to various data brokers and black markets to be used in fraud and other criminal activities.”

The emails provide the patient’s address, phone number and medical record number, and  include a link where the patients’ data is supposedly already on sale, with instructions on how to pay $50 to take it down.

We all know there’s too much money to be made to actually take down the record, so these cybercriminals of the worst kind are knowingly stealing cancer patient data, extorting $50 from as many of them as they can, and then will most likely sell those people’s data to someone else who will continue to make the victim’s lives a living hell – all while trying to deal with cancer.

Some people really make me sick. 

THIS is why Knowbe4 exists; to keep organizations safe from attacks that will inevitably hurt people.

Free Phishing Security Test

Would your users fall for convincing phishing attacks? Take the first step now and find out before bad actors do. Plus, see how you stack up against your peers with phishing Industry Benchmarks. The Phish-prone percentage is usually higher than you expect and is great ammo to get budget.

PST ResultsHere's how it works:

  • Immediately start your test for up to 100 users (no need to talk to anyone)
  • Select from 20+ languages and customize the phishing test template based on your environment
  • Choose the landing page your users see after they click
  • Show users which red flags they missed, or a 404 page
  • Get a PDF emailed to you in 24 hours with your Phish-prone % and charts to share with management
  • See how your organization compares to others in your industry

Go Phishing Now!

PS: Don't like to click on redirected buttons? Cut & Paste this link in your browser:

Subscribe to Our Blog

Comprehensive Anti-Phishing Guide

Get the latest about social engineering

Subscribe to CyberheistNews