Interpol warns of more ransomware attacks against healthcare sector

The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has warned member countries that cyber criminals were attempting to target major hospitals and other institutions on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 with ransomware.

  • Interpol also issued a ‘Purple Notice’. “At this point, the ransomware appears to be spreading primarily via e-mails.
  • Cybercriminals are using ransomware to hold hospitals and medical services digitally hostage, preventing them from accessing vital files and systems until a ransom is paid.


  • Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment. Cryptocurrency are used for the ransoms payment, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult.
Types :
  1. Crypto malware: This form of ransomware can cause a lot of damage because it encrypts things like your files, folders, and hard-drives.  (WannaCry in 2017)
  2. Lockers: completely lock you out of your computer or devices, making it impossible to access any of your files or applications.
  3. Scareware : Often claims to have found issues on your computer, demanding money to resolve the problems.
  4. Doxware: threatens to publish your stolen information online if you don’t pay the ransom.
  5. RaaS: “Ransomware as a service,” is a type of malware hosted anonymously by a hacker. These cybercriminals handle everything from distributing the ransomware and collecting payments to managing decryptors — software that restores data access — in exchange for their cut of the ransom.
Examples :
  • Services in the U.S. cities of Baltimore and Maryland were paralysed earlier in 2019 when a ransomware attack locked up computer networks and made it impossible for residents to make property transactions or pay their municipal bills. Officials refused to meet hacker demands for a ransom of $76,000 to unlock the systems, but have been saddled with an estimated $18 million in costs of restoring and rebuilding the city’s computer networks.
  • Two Florida cities reportedly paid a total of $1 million in ransom.
  • At least 170 county, city or State government systems have been hit since 2013.

Interpol Notices

Types of notices :
  • Red Notice: To seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action.
  • Yellow Notice : To help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves.
  • Blue Notice: To collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.
  • Black Notice :To seek information on unidentified bodies.
  • Green Notice: To provide warnings and intelligence about persons who have committed criminal offences and are likely to repeat these crimes in other countries.
  • Orange Notice: To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
  • INTERPOL–United Nations Security Council Special Notice: Issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.
  • Purple Notice: To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.

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