Hackers Encrypt Indian Hospital Data, Demand Bitcoin as Ransom

Hackers Encrypt Indian Hospital Data, Demand Bitcoin as Ransom

A prominent hospital in India’s wealthiest city Mumbai has become the latest victim of a ransomware attack. The actors behind the malware have encrypted hospital data and are demanding ransom in bitcoin to relinquish control of data. 

Also see Novogratz: ‘A Herd of Institutional Investors’ Will Run Into Crypto

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Indian Hospital Under Ransomware Attack

Officials with the Mahatma Gandhi Mission (MGM) New Bombay Hospital Vashi have confirmed the hospital has been hit with an unknown ransomware virus and has acutely lost control of its computer system since July 15th. The attack was first realized as the MGM’s computer-system administrator Amit Vavhal remotely accessed the system and stumbled across an email from the cyber attacker.   

The warning Vavhal discovered read

“All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to resolve them, write to us in the e-mail. You have to pay for the decryption in bitcoin. The price depends on how quickly you write to us. After the payment is made, we’ll send you the tool that will decrypt all your files.”

The ransomers are also said to have provided instructions on how to buy and send bitcoin to complete the attack. For now, there’s no indication of how much BTC is being sought. 

Notably, MGM management have said they are “not even thinking about giving [the culprits] the money.” Accordingly, administrators have lodged an official complaint with the local Vashi police, who are now trying to find the attackers’ IP address. 

Cyber Attackers Earn, But Bitcoin Gets a Bad Wrap  

While acknowledging the attack, MGM administrator P. K. Shashankar said the hospital is trying the best it can to go about business as usual. 

“We faced difficulties from Sunday night to Monday afternoon, but we’re recovering now. Patients haven’t suffered. We’re in touch with cops and experts to address this issue. We still have some issues with the discharge and billing system, but they will eventually get resolved,” said Shashankar.

Recently, a hotel in the planned city of Navi Mumbai was hit with a similar ransomware demanding $400 USD in bitcoin to unlock their computer system. Lately, ransomware has become one of the most prevalent types of cybercrime, with India certainly not being immune to this trend.

Indeed, the ransomware incidents are only the latest crypto-linked cons in India, which has become something of a hotbed for such efforts in recent months — a dynamic many see as underlying the Indian Supreme Court’s recent support for the domestic cryptocurrency crackdown there.

The rise in such cybercrimes has led in some mainstream circles to the general scapegoating of bitcoin, itself just a mode of payment. It is a fallacy, of course, that bitcoin inherently encourages wrongdoing. It does not — it is just currency of choice. Ransomware attacks are increasingly prevalent due to weak or inadequate security infrastructure in the growing digital world. To attack that dynamic at the root, no attacks on bitcoin are necessary.

What is your take on the recent bitcoin-linked ransoms? Share your views in the comments section.


Images via Pixabay

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