How Valuable is Your Healthcare Data?

Health care is a hot topic in security right now. A quick search for “hospital ransomware” returns a laundry list of news reports on hospitals as targets of cyberattacks. However, it is not just ransomware that people need to worry about. In the report Health Warning: Cyberattacks Are Targeting the Health Care Industry, our McAfee Labs team digs into the dark underbelly of cybercrime and data loss involving health care records. In this case, the darkrefers to the dark web.

Following up on the Hidden Data Economy report, we looked further to see if medical data was showing up for sale. We found dark web vendors offering up medical data records by the tens of thousands. One database for sale offered information on 397,000 patients!

2016-10-27_17-36-06

These databases contained not only names, addresses, and phone numbers of patients, but also data about their health care insurance providers and payment card information.

What’s it worth?

Of course, for this to be worth a cybercriminal’s time, they must be able to profit from it. We are finding that health care records to be a bit less valuable than records such as payment card records that contain financial information. The going price for a single record of information on a user that includes name, Social Security number, birth date, account information such as payment card number (referred to as fullz in dark web lingo) can range from $14 to $25 per record. Medical records sell for a much lower price, anywhere from a fraction of a cent to around $2.50 per record.

Does this mean medical records are not as valuable? Although not as lucrative as fullz, medical record information has  higher value than just a username/password record when sold on the dark web. We think that sellers are trying to maximize their gain from the data theft. In one underground market forum, a seller listed 40,000 medical records for $500, but specifically removed the financial data and sold that separately.

Why is the health care industry a target?

Although there are regulations and guidelines for the health care industry to protect patient information, the industry itself faces many challenges. Foremost, the focus of the majority of health care workers is the treatment of patients. Because they are dealing with life and death situations, the equipment used to treat patients must be working and available at a moment’s notice. This means there is often little time to install a patch or an update on a piece of medical equipment. The equipment may also be running an outdated operating system that simply cannot be patched to protect against the latest threats. It is not uncommon to see medical equipment running on Windows 95. The medical industry is also subject to FDA regulations and approvals. There may be equipment that is approved by the FDA only on an older operating system and would need to be recertified if updated.

How do I stay safe?

Unfortunately, these data breaches are outside the control of the average person. Health care providers typically use the information they collect from you for your treatment, so you cannot withhold your home address or phone number. As a consumer, you need to be alert for health care data breaches that potentially impact you.

  • Pay attention to the news: Once discovered, medical data breaches tend to make the evening news. Even if you went to a health care provider only once to get an x-ray because you thought you broke your thumb and that provider experiences a data breach, odds are your information was compromised.
  • Monitor your credit score: A common use for resold information is the opening of credit cards or bank accounts. Subscribing to a credit-monitoring service will help you know if a new account has been opened without your knowledge.
  • Watch out for phishing: If your contact information has been stolen, you are almost certain to be the target of numerous phishing attempts. Keep an eye out for suspicious emails and text messages. You can read one of my previous blogs for tips on how to spot a phishing attempt.

The nature of today’s digital world can unfortunately cause our personal and private data to be leaked. If you stay vigilant, you can reduce the impact these breaches will have on your life.

Stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @IntelSec_Home on Twitter, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Stay Safe!

The post How Valuable is Your Healthcare Data? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

How Valuable is Your Healthcare Data?

Health care is a hot topic in security right now. A quick search for “hospital ransomware” returns a laundry list of news reports on hospitals as targets of cyberattacks. However, it is not just ransomware that people need to worry about. In the report Health Warning: Cyberattacks Are Targeting the Health Care Industry, our McAfee Labs team digs into the dark underbelly of cybercrime and data loss involving health care records. In this case, the dark refers to the dark web.

Following up on the Hidden Data Economy report, we looked further to see if medical data was showing up for sale. We found dark web vendors offering up medical data records by the tens of thousands. One database for sale offered information on 397,000 patients!

2016-10-27_17-36-06

These databases contained not only names, addresses, and phone numbers of patients, but also data about their health care insurance providers and payment card information.

What’s it worth?

Of course, for this to be worth a cybercriminal’s time, they must be able to profit from it. We are finding that health care records to be a bit less valuable than records such as payment card records that contain financial information. The going price for a single record of information on a user that includes name, Social Security number, birth date, account information such as payment card number (referred to as fullz in dark web lingo) can range from $14 to $25 per record. Medical records sell for a much lower price, anywhere from a fraction of a cent to around $2.50 per record.

Does this mean medical records are not as valuable? Although not as lucrative as fullz, medical record information has  higher value than just a username/password record when sold on the dark web. We think that sellers are trying to maximize their gain from the data theft. In one underground market forum, a seller listed 40,000 medical records for $500, but specifically removed the financial data and sold that separately.

Why is the health care industry a target?

Although there are regulations and guidelines for the health care industry to protect patient information, the industry itself faces many challenges. Foremost, the focus of the majority of health care workers is the treatment of patients. Because they are dealing with life and death situations, the equipment used to treat patients must be working and available at a moment’s notice. This means there is often little time to install a patch or an update on a piece of medical equipment. The equipment may also be running an outdated operating system that simply cannot be patched to protect against the latest threats. It is not uncommon to see medical equipment running on Windows 95. The medical industry is also subject to FDA regulations and approvals. There may be equipment that is approved by the FDA only on an older operating system and would need to be recertified if updated.

How do I stay safe?

Unfortunately, these data breaches are outside the control of the average person. Health care providers typically use the information they collect from you for your treatment, so you cannot withhold your home address or phone number. As a consumer, you need to be alert for health care data breaches that potentially impact you.

  • Pay attention to the news: Once discovered, medical data breaches tend to make the evening news. Even if you went to a health care provider only once to get an x-ray because you thought you broke your thumb and that provider experiences a data breach, odds are your information was compromised.
  • Monitor your credit score: A common use for resold information is the opening of credit cards or bank accounts. Subscribing to a credit-monitoring service will help you know if a new account has been opened without your knowledge.
  • Watch out for phishing: If your contact information has been stolen, you are almost certain to be the target of numerous phishing attempts. Keep an eye out for suspicious emails and text messages. You can read one of my previous blogs for tips on how to spot a phishing attempt.

The nature of today’s digital world can unfortunately cause our personal and private data to be leaked. If you stay vigilant, you can reduce the impact these breaches will have on your life.

Stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @IntelSec_Home on Twitter, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Stay Safe!

The post How Valuable is Your Healthcare Data? appeared first on McAfee.

Everyone Loves Selfies, Including Malware!

I was talking with some of my coworkers the other day about why I wanted to jump to the larger iPhone 7 Plus.  For me it came down to the camera.  I travel a lot for work and even though photography is something of a hobby of mine, I don’t always have my “good camera” with me, so I end up relying on my phone’s camera to take pictures of things that catch my eye.  The camera has become an integral part of a smartphone that it’s often (as in my case) a key factor in deciding which phone to use.  More companies are starting to take advantage of the ubiquitous nature of the camera phone to let you do things like simulate a fax for a signed document or making deposits through your banking app by taking a picture of the front and back of the check.  Thanks to my phone’s camera I can’t remember the last time I stepped inside a bank.  Unfortunately, cybercriminals are also learning to take advantage of your phone’s camera.

The McAfee Mobile Research Team within McAfee Labs recently discovered a piece of Android malware that uses a bit of social engineering and some sneaky code to collect all sorts of personal information, ending with a picture of your ID card. That’s right, malware is now asking for you to take a selfie.  While this particular piece of malware has only been impacting users in Singapore and Hong Kong so far, it’s always best to be aware of the current threats and prepare accordingly. Let’s take a quick look at what this piece of malware does.malware-codec

Like a lot of malware, it tricks the user into installing it by pretending to be a video codec or plugin.  By doing this, it’s actually getting the user to grant it all the permissions it needs to execute the malicious code.  On a side note, this is why we would call this a Trojan instead of a virus since it is pretending to be a legitimate application with hidden functionality.  Remember the story of the Trojan Horse?  Same concept.  Just much smaller.selfie

This malware now runs in the background, waiting for you to open specific apps where it would make sense to ask for a credit card number.  It then displays its own window over the legitimate app, asking for your credit card details.  After validating the card number, it goes on to ask for additional information such as the 4-digit number on the back.  Once fed that information, it will then proceed to ask all sorts of additional information claiming a need to validate your identity.    Age, birthday, mailing address, etc. are all collected.   After all of this info is gathered, it then asks for a picture of the front and back of your ID.  Now, not content to just get that info, the malware asks you to take a selfie with your ID in hand.  You thought taking a selfie with your boarding pass was bad!  If you entered in everything you were asked for, the cybercriminals controlling this malware would now have all the information they needed to gain access to your online accounts.  While it’s not the first time we’ve seen malware that asks for a picture, this is the first time we’ve seen this in mobile malware.  Cybercriminals have definitely turned their sights on the mobile platform.

How to Stay Safe

Don’t install shady plugins – The majority of the internet has settled on one of a handful of different formats to use for videos.  If you go to a site that is asking you to install a “codec” or “video plugin,” don’t do it.  Either that site is using an older out of date video format (that could be vulnerable to more malware) or it is trying to get you to install malware.  Either way, go to another site.  If you think you are missing a legitimate plugin, go directly to the site that makes the plugin and install it from there.  But really, most mobile operating systems have all the codecs you will need built in, so when in doubt, get out.

Don’t take a picture of your ID – You should always be skeptical when apps start asking for too much information.  Entering in payment information is one thing, but asking for a picture of your ID is a completely different ballpark.  In general, storing that sort of information on a server (picture of your ID, passport, etc.) is not a good security practice, so even if an app you are using is legitimately asking for a copy of your ID, you may want to reconsider ditching that app for another one with better security practices.

Install security software – Typically I tell people to keep their devices up to date.  However, since this piece of malware is a Trojan and installs with the user’s permissions, having your system up to date would not stop this malware.  This is one reason you need to run security software, so it can keep an eye out for malicious apps like this that find tricky ways to get onto your device.

Cybercriminals are certainly not slowing down their efforts to steal your data, but with good security practices and the right protections in place, you have a fighting chance.

Stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @IntelSec_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Stay Safe

 

 

 

 

The post Everyone Loves Selfies, Including Malware! appeared first on McAfee.

No More Ransom: A New Initiative to Battle Ransomware

Ransomware has seen a huge increase over the past couple of years.  According to our June Quarterly Threats Report, there was a 113% increase in ransomware over the past year.  However, the real indicator for me has been an increase in questions about ransomware I get from people once they find out I work for Intel Security.  Working in the security industry, you hear these terms all the time, but when my doctor brings up ransomware I know it’s a big issue.

Ransomware is particularly damaging because it can encrypt files on your computer and make them unrecoverable unless you pay a ransom to get them unlocked.  It may not sound like a big deal at first, but ransomware typically goes after pictures and personal documents.  Pictures from your last vacation, your favorite concert or your kid’s first birthday are all at risk of being permanently encrypted and effectively gone forever.

no more ransomAt Intel Security, we believe that people should be able to use a computer, tablet or smartphone without fear of having their information stolen or held hostage.  This is why we worked with other organizations in law enforcement and security to form No More Ransom.

This portal was put in place to serve as a way to help educate the public about ransomware, but more importantly, to also offer decryption tools to help people recover files that have been locked by ransomware.   On the site (https://www.nomoreransom.org) you’ll find decryption tools for many types of ransomware, including the Shade ransomware.

How Do I Know Which Ransomware I Have?

RW-SheriffIt can be difficult to know exactly what type of ransomware has infected your system, which is why my favorite feature of the No More Ransom site is the Crypto Sheriff.  Aside from being fun to say, the Crypto Sheriff is a tool that helps you figure out which ransomware is on your system.   To use the Crypto Sheriff, you upload 2 encrypted files and any email address or website you see in the ransom demand and Crypto Sheriff will provide you with a link to download the correct decryption tool.

An Ounce of Prevention

No More Ransom goes a long way to help people impacted by ransomware, but unfortunately there are still many types of ransomware out there without a fix.  If you’ve been infected by one of these types of ransomware the only way to recover from it is to restore your files from a backup.  Most ransomware uses encryption that would take years to crack, so unless a decryption key is available there is little you can do to recover infected files.  Fortunately, there are some preventative steps you can take to protect yourself from ransomware.

  1. Update, update, update – Updating your operating system (OS) and applications will go a long way towards fixing the software vulnerabilities ransomware uses to infect your system.
  2. Use robust antivirus software – Antivirus software can help catch ransomware before it has a chance to infect your system. Remember the tip above and make sure your security software is set to automatically update so you always have the latest protection.
  3. Be suspicious – Ransomware is often spread by malicious links. Since you most likely wouldn’t click on a link sent by a stranger, cybercriminals will often use phishing emails that appear to be from a friend, your bank, the government, etc to trick you into clicking on a link containing malware.  These links can also come from social media or instant messages from friends who have had their account compromised.  The bad guys crack your friend’s password and send links pretending to be them.
  4. Back it up – If all else fails, keeping a backup of your important files can help you recover in case of a ransomware infection. There are plenty of good online backup options, but you can also use a portable drive and attach it when you need to backup.  If you use a portable drive, make sure to unplug it when not in use, or it could also be encrypted by ransomware.

Getting infected with ransomware can cause no end of headaches.  However, though a combination of preventative measures and the tools available at No More Ransomware you can continue to enjoy your digital life.  For more information about ransomware, feel free to take a look at our primer on ransomware.

Stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following@IntelSec_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Stay safe!

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