New Risk to Healthcare Professionals from Microsoft Ransomware

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There are always risks associated with working online, but as the world has shifted to increased digital dependency, the potential for vulnerability has increased to an all-time high.

Don Baham, a healthcare IT services professional with Kraft Technology Group shares the latest newest risk comes from a form of Microsoft Ransomware called PonyFinal that is targeting healthcare services.

What is PonyFinal?

PonyFinal ransomware attacks are a growing concern across the IT industry. Experts in malware prevention and treatment at Microsoft have issued a warning about this particular kind of attack. Currently, hackers are planting the PonyFinal ransomware on compromised IT systems, and the healthcare industry seems to be one of the most targeted industries at risk.

Like many ransomware attacks, the threat posed here is a global one. Instances of the PonyFinal malware impacting IT systems has occurred in the United States, as well as across Asia and the Middle East, with many experts warning those in Europe to be on guard for an attack as well. This malware is particularly dangerous because it is so incredibly targeted. The hackers spend a lot of time researching their intended target before unleashing the malware. The result is a targeted attack that is especially challenging for businesses to cope with on their own.

Ransomware attacks are especially problematic for growing businesses and companies who possess a lot of personal data that could be considered worth a lot of money—such as the healthcare industry. The ransomware attacks the server hosting the data and takes the information hostage, locking the company out of their own files and requiring a big payout for companies to get that information back. However, even if the company pays out, there is no guarantee that the information that was stolen is safeguarded again. Hackers can keep copies of that data and sell it, thereby leaving your company and clients exposed even after a ransom is paid out.

Preventing Ransomware Attacks

PonyFinal is an especially challenging and advanced form of ransomware that is especially hazardous based on how much research is used in the targeted company. However, this research comes an advantage. The hackers who are behind the PonyFinal attacks are aware of just how much IT support—or lack of support—any agency is utilizing. Partnering with a strong IT team at this time can help to prevent this ransomware attack by sending a strong message to hackers that your company is off-limits.

There are plenty of tools that a strong IT team uses to help prevent malware attacks. Internet security is more important than ever as more people and industries try turning to digital support to maintain a normal way of life. Keeping up with regular updates on browsers and plugins can help fill in holes that hackers may otherwise easily exploit. Training your employees to be especially careful of phishing campaigns and to remove software that is unused and out of date is also helpful in ensuring that your company’s computers and data stays safe.

A strong IT services team can help to train your employees to stay on guard against malware attacks. Simple internet safety tips like making sure that you are always using a secure connection when browsing the web, and logging out of the website when you are done are helpful things that employees can do to reduce your corporate risk of a malware attack. Enforcing strong passwords and requiring regular password updates is also a helpful strategy.

The PonyFinal ransomware is dangerous and poses a large threat to industries across the globe—especially the healthcare industry—but your employees and clients don’t need to be at risk. Partner with an IT services team that can help you to keep your company safe in the digital age.

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