A group or individual operating a ransomware distribution operation has earned 189,813 Bitcoin (over $121 million) from his/their activities, according to a recent quarterly report published this week by McAfee Labs.
Experts say that the crook’s current Bitcoin wallet address still holds around $94 million, meaning the crook spent $27 million, either on servers and other costs or on himself.
These kinds of profits are exactly what drive cyber-criminals to ransomwareOperations.
According to McAfee’s telemetry data, the total number of ransomware infections has grown 128 percent year-over-year. Every quarter, the company’s security experts find new versions of ransomware, more than the previous one.
But while ransomware infections are generally bad, a peculiar type of incidents have caught the eye of the security vendor, and those are ransomware attacks on hospitals.
McAfee highlights 24 separate incidents where ransomware has taken root inside a hospital’s IT network and has wrecked havoc. We noted the rise in hospital ransomware infections last February, but as McAfee explains, it has only gotten worse.
Incidents have been reported in many countries, not just the US. The list includes Germany, the UK, South Korea, and Australia. Nevertheless, the US has remained the favorite target, mainly due to its more commercialized healthcare system.
Infections have taken place at hospitals and clinics all over the US, from Colorado to Kansas, and from California to Georgia.
Just like other malware aimed at regular consumers, malware targeting hospitals is profitable as well. McAfee reports on one malware gang that specifically targeted the healthcare sector and earned over $100,000 from its endeavor.
Comments from fellow hackers on underground hacking and cyber-crime forums have criticized the group, but this hasn’t stopped the gang or others from continuing to target hospitals or other emergency units.