Feeds

Crap hospital databases next goldmine for cyber-crooks, say Microsoft's botnet slayers

Your medical files are worth big bucks to fraudsters

Remote control for virtualized desktops

RSA 2014 The low levels of security in healthcare IT systems, and the high value of its data, is going to make the sector the next big target for scammers, according to the Microsoft-backed team that takes down botnets.

"Healthcare is really in a disadvantaged place in cyber-security," said Patrick Peterson, CEO of security firm Agari, which worked on the Citadel botnet takedown with Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit.

"We studied from a statistical point of view which industries are doing the most to deal with malware. Banks and social media sites are at the top while healthcare scores a near incomplete."

Agari has been monitoring criminal marketplaces online, and Peterson said that the going price for a valid stolen credit card was only a couple of dollars. But a patient's medical records were much more valuable, and were priced at about $60 per person.

"Medical records, if you know how to game people, allows a multitude of fraud options," said Richard Boscovich, assistant general counsel for the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.

"With that you can impersonate someone to get into their bank account, you can get everything down to the color of their hair and eyes, and if you know how to socially engineer a bank or a store or a credit card then the sky's the limit. These guys are good, we've seen that happen."

Of the healthcare companies surveyed by Agari, only Aetna and Health South had made any progress in setting up systems so that users can verify the authenticity of official email messages. Agari estimates that you are five times as likely to get a malicious email claiming to be from a healthcare company as you are from a bank.

Boscovich said botnet takedowns were driving the online criminals into new areas like healthcare because the fraudsters were seeking higher value targets in order to compensate for the increased security precautions they were having to take. Both Microsoft and Agari are looking at new botnet armies to take on in order to make life more difficult for the herders. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.