How a “ransom” infected 2.5 million doctors in just one day.
That’s just one of the findings from a security company’s report detailing the attack on health-related companies.
It was also the first time malware had been found targeting doctors in the United States.
The attack was reported by the Japanese cyber security firm Rakuten Super Logistics and the cybersecurity firm Cybersecurity Intelligence.
According to the company, the ransomware began infecting a system belonging to the healthcare provider CPL, which manages medical-related information for more than 2.6 million people in Japan.
Its creators allegedly paid ransom to get the infected system to reboot and allow the infected user access to their data.
Once the infected doctor logged on, the malicious program could take control of the computer’s system settings, including the operating system, the operating systems of the medical devices it was using, and even the medical files that were stored on the infected machine, the company said.
The ransomware’s operators demanded the ransom of ¥2,000 ($1,200) to unlock the system’s operating system and to prevent the infection of the infected computer, the report said.
After the ransomware’s creators got the system back online, they continued their malicious activity and the infected patient eventually paid the ransom to recover his or her data.
Rakuten Super, which is headquartered in Tokyo, said in a statement that the malware was discovered in March, which made it a “major public security issue.”
“After a thorough investigation, we have concluded that this malware has been created by the criminals using ransomware, and that they are still active on the internet,” the company added.
Rakensun was the first Japanese cybersecurity firm to report ransomware infection of more than a million patients.
In March, the Japanese government warned that the number of infected patients could reach 3 million.
Japanese authorities had previously warned that cybercriminals were targeting hospitals, medical facilities, and government agencies, though the number had not been directly reported.
The Ransomware Crisis: A Threat to Your Health?
By the Numbers: Health Centers Threatened by CyberattacksA total of 8.1 million people are infected with ransomware, according to research from cybersecurity firm CERT.
That number represents an increase of 1.3 million patients, and it is likely due to the rise in ransomware infections reported by health-care providers in the wake of the cyberattacks.
In the first six months of the year, the number reported by CERT jumped by more than 400 percent to 2.1 billion, while ransomware infections also rose by more over the same period to 5.2 billion, according a report from the Cybersecurity Information Network.
The number of hospitals that have reported ransomware infection has grown by nearly 700 percent in the past year, according CERT, to nearly 7,000 in April alone.
The ransomware threat is particularly prevalent in Japan, where the cybercrimbers are primarily targeting the health sector.
The World Health Organization, however, has warned that it is still too early to tell how many health systems have been hit by ransomware infections.