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.

What is ” big data” ? How is it useful in commerce and governance?

The basic idea behind the phrase ‘Big Data’ is that everything we do is increasingly leaving a digital trace (or data), which we (and others) can use and analyse. Big Data therefore refers to that data being collected and our ability to make use of it.Data collection itself isn’t new. We as humans have been collecting and storing data since as far back as 18,000 BCE. What’s new are the recent technological advances in chip and sensor technology, the Internet, cloud computing, and our ability to store and analyze data that have changed the quantity of data we can collect.Things that have been a part of everyday life for decades — shopping, listening to music, taking pictures, talking on the phone — now happen more and more wholly or in part in the digital realm, and therefore leave a trail of data.

The other big change is in the kind of data we can analyze.Now data analysts can also look at “unstructured” data like photos, tweets, emails, voice recordings and sensor data to find patterns.

As with any leap forward in innovation, the tool can be used for good or nefarious purposes. Some people are concerned about privacy, as more and more details of our lives are being recorded and analyzed by businesses, agencies, and governments every day.

Companies are using big data to better understand and target customers. Using big data, retailers can predict what products will sell, telecom companies can predict if and when a customer might switch carriers etc.

It’s also used to optimize business processes. Retailers are able to optimize their stock levels based on what’s trending on social media, what people are searching for on the web, or even weather forecasts. Supply chains can be optimized so that delivery drivers use less gas and reach customers faster.

Big data analytics enable us to find new cures and better understand and predict the spread of diseases. Police forces use big data tools to catch criminals and even predict criminal activity and credit card companies use big data analytics to detect fraudulent transactions.

As the tools to collect and analyze the data become less and less expensive and more and more accessible, we will develop more and more uses for it — everything from smart yoga mats to better healthcare tools and a more effective police force.

Take cyber attacks seriously

Cyber space is increasingly being misused. The sheer scale of cyber attacks is breathtaking. Sensitive commercial information including intellectual property rights related information has been stolen, privacy of millions of individuals has been compromised, credit card frauds have been perpetrated, and sensitive nuclear and military installations have been targeted successfully.

Read moreTake cyber attacks seriously