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Cancer Charity Hit by Cybercrime

February 6, 2017

As cybercrime becomes the most common kind of crime facing society in the 21st century, there is one thing we should keep in mind. In the digital space, anyone and everyone is a target. And while honor among thieves might never have really been a thing, there is certainly not a single trace of it in the digital space.

Cancer Charity Hit by Cybercrime

Charity Attack

This is well demonstrated by one of the latest cyber attacks which has hit a medical charity. We’ve seen ransomware attacks before on hospitals, but this latest attack was on a non-profit charity in Muncie Indianapolis. Little Red Door Cancer Agency is a charity that provides support to cancer patients without medical insurance or the ‘resources to afford proper care’.

At first, it was believed the attack on the charity was using ransomware, but that turned out not to be the case and the hospital’s files were simply stolen rather than encrypted. However, the cybercriminal behind the attack did demand a ransom of $44,000 and threatened that he or she would release the data stolen and deleted from the organization’s cloud storage.

The organization, acting on advice from the FBI, decided not to pay the ransom and simply took the hit. A spokeswoman said:

“The FBI told us not to pay, and we’re not going to pay. [The cybercriminal has] already posted data on the dark web, and that’s already been compromised. Why throw good money after bad?”

Harsh lesson

The organization will be instead investing in a more secure cloud alternative for its files in the future. It’s an incredibly harsh lesson for a hard-pressed charity to have to learn, and not one, in a decent society, it should have to.

Sadly, that’s the cold hard reality of cybercrime. Hidden behind their computer screens, cybercriminals can be unspeakably vicious, indiscriminate, manipulative and heartless. Just like the abusive trolls on Twitter, they feel protected by the anonymity of their digital attacks. They feel emboldened to go after targets that perhaps they would think twice about harming in the real world.

Unfortunately, it means cyber security is not just something for big business or government. Organizations of all sizes and all agendas, need to be protected. Because in this day and age, whoever you are, it’s simply a matter of when, not if, you will need cyber security protection.