What is swatting related to ransomware?
Have you heard about "swatting"? It is a new tactic criminals are using along with ransomware to force ransom payment demands:
Cybercriminals are using a dangerous tactic called "swatting" to attack hospitals through their patients, trying to make the hospitals pay ransoms. Swatting involves making fake emergency calls to the police about someone, in this case patients, claiming there are bombs or other serious threats, which forces the police to respond aggressively to these innocent people's homes.
The criminals believe this pressure will make hospitals in the US pay up to stop their patients from being targeted. For example, when Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle had its patient data stolen last November, the criminals threatened to use swatting on the center's patients. The center told the FBI and local police about these threats. The FBI looked into these swatting threats as part of their investigation into the cyber attack.
Another hospital, Integris Health in Oklahoma, had a similar cyber attack where criminals got hold of patient information. Some patients started getting emails from these criminals threatening to sell their personal info if they didn't get paid. This kind of blackmail is just one of the more extreme methods that cyber experts have seen increasing over time. Whether or not these tactics actually make hospitals pay ransoms depends on the situation.