Hackers had recently broke into a leading India-based healthcare website, stealing 68 lakh records containing patient and doctor information, reported a US-based cyber security firm FireEye.
Without naming the website, FireEye said cyber criminals who are mostly China based are directly selling data stolen from healthcare organisations and web portals globally including in India in the underground markets.
“In February, a bad actor that goes by the name “fallensky519″ stole 6,800,000 records associated with an India-based healthcare website that contains patient information and personally identifiable information (PII), doctor information and PII and credentials,” FireEye said in its report shared with IANS.
Between October 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, FireEye Threat Intelligence observed multiple healthcare-associated databases for sale on underground forums, many for under $2,000.
FireEye said it continues to witness a concerted focus on acquiring healthcare research by multiple Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) groups.
Another probable motivation for APT activity is considered to be financial, since PRC has one of the world’s fastest growing pharmaceutical markets, creating lucrative opportunities for domestic firms, especially those that provide oncology treatments or services.
“Targetting medical research and data from studies may enable Chinese corporations to bring new drugs to market faster than Western competitors,” the report claimed.
One theme FireEye has observed among Chinese cyber espionage actors targeting the healthcare sector is the theft of large sets of personally identifiable information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI).]
Beyond Chinese-nexus groups, FireEye Intelligence has observed a wide variety of other cyber espionage and nation state actors involved in targeting the healthcare sector, including Russia-nexus APT28.
The valuable research being conducted within some of these institutions continues to be an attractive target for nation-states seeking to leapfrog their domestic industries.
As biomedical devices increase in usage, the potential for them to become an attractive target for disruptive or destructive cyber attacks – especially by actors willing to assume greater risk – may present a more contested attack surface than today,” said the report.