Targeted ransomware attacks on Indian pharma firms to surge in 2021: Report
New Delhi: Targeted ransomware attacks on the healthcare and pharma sector will surge in India in 2021 as companies finalise their vaccines to fight Covid-19, a new report said on Wednesday.
Healthcare and pharma sector companies that have been in the front lines working to fight against the pandemic in the country are facing a new wave of ransomware attacks and extortion demands lately.
According to the 'threat prediction 2021' report by Seqrite, an enterprise security solutions brand by Quick Heal Technologies, although few ransomware operators agreed not to attack the healthcare sector during the Covid-19 crisis, several other attack groups have continued to use ransomware against this sector, largely because of the sensitive and personal data of patients they store.
Numerous hospitals, COVID-19 research firms, and pharma companies have fallen victim to ransomware in the last quarter of 2020, "making it necessary for them to adopt or deploy a comprehensive set of security solutions," the findings showed, without sharing the names of the victims.
"The pandemic acted as a huge opportunity for cyber criminals to innovate their attack strategies further, and steal sensitive data for their personal gain," said Himanshu Dubey, Director, Quick Heal Security Labs.
These advancements are likely to continue in the coming year as well.
"For instance, new tactics like double extortion, crypto-mining, ethical hacking, etc. are expected to be widely adopted by threat actors in 2021," he added.
There has been a massive surge in cyber attacks against the India vaccine makers and hospitals in the month of October and December.
According to the latest research by New Delhi-based think tank CyberPeace Foundation, nearly 80 lakh attacks were recorded between October 1 and November 25 on the healthcare sector-based 'Threat Intelligence Sensors' network specifically simulated in India.
According to Seqrite report, the use of ethical hacking among unethical hackers will increase to inject malware into the systems in 2021.
"Threat actors will also use deep-fakes, automated phishing, red team tools, and crypto-mining to steal sensitive data," the report mentioned.
Strengthening cybersecurity hence became the need of the hour for most businesses as they gear up for 2021, the report said.