Healthcare sector targeted by ransomware attacks

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In a recent advisory on ransomware operator Black Basta Team, U.S. authorities warned the healthcare sector in particular.

The FBI, the CISA agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) pointed out that healthcare organizations are targets of interest to cybercriminals because of their size, technological dependence, access to personal health information, and unique impacts from disruptions in patient care.


The double extortion suffered by Change Healthcare

In 2024, more than 100 ransomware attacks were claimed against this sector worldwide. One of the most important cases involved Change Healthcare, a division of UnitedHealth Group, a leader in healthcare technology.

change healtcare Telsy ransomware - Il settore sanitario nel mirino degli attacchi ransomwareIn February, the company confirmed that it had been hit by a ransomware attack, later claimed by the adversary ALPHV Team, also known as BlackCat. The breach allegedly led to the exfiltration of information related to millions of people and also affected the operations of numerous hospitals, healthcare workers and pharmacies.

According to some sources, a ransom of $22 million was paid in March, which, however, did not avert the risk of disclosure of the stolen data.

To make matters worse, in fact, in mid-April another adversary returned to blackmail Change Healthcare. RansomHub allegedly posted on its leak site an ad for the sale of information belonging to the company. As proof of the authenticity of the material, the criminal group allegedly released some billing files, medical records, and medical information referable to patients, but also contracts and agreements made by the company with its partners.

Deeming a sequence of two different breaches in such a short time implausible, some analysts have advanced the hypothesis that Change Healthcare was involved in a dispute among ALPHV Team members. Some of them allegedly did not share the loot with all of the affiliates, leading some of them to associate with another ransomware group, taking the information with them.


Some Italian victims

In Italy, several incidents have primarily impacted public healthcare companies but also private diagnostic centers and manufacturers of medical instrumentation and devices.

Italia healthcare Telsy cybersecurityThe adversary Qilin Team claimed compromises to private companies that supply high-tech medical instrumentation and devices. In addition, a private network of diagnostic centers and outpatient clinics located throughout the country was targeted.

The attack suffered in January by the Basilicata Regional Health Service resulted in the blocking of Internet access and corporate e-mail and the breach of personal data of users and employees. The compromise reportedly spread among the Regional Health Service entities, whose computer networks are communicating for the management of some applications, involving the Health Authorities of Matera and Potenza, the San Carlo Regional Hospital of Potenza, the Scientific Hospitalization and Care Institute of Rionero in Vulture, and the Basilicata Region.

In February, ransomware operator Rhysida Team reported on its leak site that it had hit ASP Basilicata, ASM Matera, and IRCCS CROB (Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico) and offered the stolen data for sale at a price of 15 BTC (about 727,000 euros).

Investigations revealed that the stolen data, both medical and administrative, mainly involved patients and operators. However, thanks to the backup copies that all companies and the region make, no personal data was lost, nor were the most important documents, such as health files and medical records, altered.


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