Coronavirus: CBI alerts state police about cyber criminals targeting hospitals, health installations

New Delhi, Apr 7 (PTI) The CBI has alerted all the state police about cyber criminals increasingly targeting hospitals and other vital health installations, which are tackling coronavirus pandemic, using ransomware after an Interpol notice red flagged global patterns, officials said on Tuesday.

The CBI has written to all the Interpol Liaison Officers of state police about the increased activities of cyber criminals prowling on Internet looking to hack into systems of hospitals by planting ranswonware through emails to block access to vital files and documents and demanding ransom for their release, they said.

'Cyber criminals are using ransomware to hold hospitals and medical services digitally hostage; preventing them from accessing vital files and systems until a ransom is paid,' the Interpol has said.

The CBI is national central bureau of India solely tasked to coordinate with Lyon-based Interpol.

The Interpol has issued a purple notice alerting all its 194 member countries about such activities, they said.

Purple notice is issued by the Interpol to seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.

The International police organisation has red flagged a ransomware which is being spread using email camouflaged as information or advice regarding coronavirus or COVID-19 from a government agency, luring the recipient to click the infected attachments.  Once the attachment is opened, it blocks the recipient's access to the system till a ransom in paid, they said.  The Interpol has said that globally hospitals are at the 'highest risk' of becoming victims of such emails in the wake of the pandemic, the officials said.

The body has recommended that all important files should be properly backed up and hardware and software systems should be updated by hospitals to ward off any possibility of coming under such cyber attack, they said.  Meanwhile, the Interpol said it is also working to collate a 'list of suspicious Internet domains related to COVID-19 and undertaking further analysis and evaluation' to take further action with the countries where they may be located.


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