Hacking the pandemic: new documentary reveals healthcare cybercrime surge amid COVID-19
Tomorrow Unlocked, the online magazine for technology culture created by Kaspersky, is releasing a two-part documentary ‘hacker:HUNTER Ha(ck)cine’ that examines how cybercriminals and state-sponsored hackers are attacking the healthcare system.
For cybercriminals, every crisis is an opportunity - even a global pandemic. Over the last few months, the creators of the documentary spoke to hospitals, law enforcement agencies, health organizations and research centers around the world, to create a unique picture of how the healthcare system faced a hi-tech threat during the pandemic: namely increased cyberattacks and malware.
The documentary reveals the shocking surge in cyber-intrusions on healthcare during the COVID-19 global pandemic. It takes the audience to the frontline of targeted attacks on the World Health Organization, which has reported a fivefold increase in cyber-offences on its systems since March.
While state-sponsored hackers are locked in a battle for biodata, cybercriminals and gangs are taking advantage of the global chaos. Though healthcare has always been a target for various hackers, attacks have soared amid the pandemic, as attackers know that hospitals may be more willing than usual to pay a ransom. For example, in March, the Czech Republic's Brno University Hospital, responsible for running a big share of the country’s COVID-19 testing, was held to ransom and forced to shut down its IT network at a critical time of need.
But while the global pandemic has sparked a surge in cybercriminal activity, it has also been met with an incredible response from the cybersecurity community. Cyber-volunteers created CV19 - a 3,000-strong group working tirelessly to provide hospitals and healthcare institutions at every part of the supply chain, with free support to protect their systems. With each sector doing their bit to give back during a global crisis, this is the cybersecurity community’s crucial contribution to help the healthcare heroes do their jobs.
The feature was directed by Didi Mae Hand and produced by Max Peltz. The hacker:HUNTER series was created by Hugo Berkeley, who also directed the first two documentaries - about the Carbanak group and the WannaCry ransomware attack.
“I was blown away by the passion and dedication of the cybersecurity community to help get the public through this pandemic - to keep systems and the free flow of scientific and medical services running in the face of overwhelming challenges and attacks. The willingness of our busy, high profile contributors to share their time, experience and stories, and the talented crew to adapt and rise to the challenges of remote filming transformed what should have been a difficult film to make, into a fascinating and rewarding experience”, says Didi Mae Hand, the director of ‘hacker:HUNTER Ha(ck)cine’. “There’s been so much going on behind the scenes, I’m excited for people to see the film and shine a light on the incredible work of the cyber-community during a really challenging year. We saw so much solidarity, so much interest by all our contributors, who really did everything they could to make this film happen. It was impressive!”
The documentary consists of two 20-minute episodes:
- ‘hacker:HUNTER Ha(ck)cine: Healthcare on the Edge’, which launches on the 25th September at 5PM CEST, portrays these volunteers and shows how an attack on a hospital during the pandemic can effectively shut it down
- ‘hacker:HUNTER Ha(ck)cine: Defending the Cure’, which launches on 2nd October at 5PM CEST, discusses how the World Health Organization and research centers suddenly came under attack as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic started
The fourth documentary in the hacker:HUNTER series launches in November.
Watch all hacker:HUNTER episodes at www.tomorrowunlocked.com/guardians/hacker_hunter/
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 250,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
About Tomorrow Unlocked
Tomorrow Unlocked is an online magazine for technology culture, and a film production house, created by Kaspersky. It focuses on stories showing how technology helps us create a better future, providing a mix of background reading, documentary films and quick essentials. Learn more at www.tomorrowunlocked.com.