French health insurance company Mutuelle Nationale des Hospitaliers (MNH), which provides health insurance services and plans, has experienced a ransomware attack that has disrupted the company's healthcare operations – the mnh.fr website displays a notice stating that it has been affected by a cyberattack that started on 5 February 2021.
“The MNH has been undergoing a cyberattack since Friday, 5 February 2021. The computer systems have been disconnected for security reasons. Our websites (mnh.fr, members’ area, corresponding and elected extranets), as well as our telephone platform (3031), are temporarily unavailable,” said Gérard Vuidepot, Chairman and CEO of MNH. “Our teams are working to restore services as quickly as possible. We are committed to communicating in complete transparency on the evolution of the situation on our website mnh.fr.”
Various news tech outlets source the attack back to ransomware operation RansomExx – which has allegedly been in operation since 2018 and has also been linked to high-profile attacks such as those against Brazil's government networks, the Texas Department of Transportation and Tyler Technologies.
And according to information obtained by online tech news outlet Bleeping Computer, hackers behind the ransomware attack are now pursuing MNH with a major ransom demand, warning it not to involve law enforcement authorities, and to communicate with them via a Protonmail account.
Criminals taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to target vulnerable healthcare IT infrastructures have, unfortunately, made headlines on multiple occasions of late. In May 2020, the CyberPeace Institute issued a global plea, calling upon governments to work together to protect healthcare providers against cyber threats; in October 2020, a US federal alert warned that malicious groups were targeting the healthcare sector with ransomware attacks designed to lock up information systems and steal data; and a report from around the same time identified that the surge in telemedicine had played a major role in the increased risk of cyber attacks.
The message here for international insurance, assistance providers and, indeed, any organisation that has, or is in the process of implementing, a digital healthcare platform, is to ensure that your digital security provisions are first-rate and nothing less.