Healthcare Company Suffers Data Theft as a Result of AvosLocker Attack

  • By Patrick Ryan
  • May 19, 2022

The ransomware as a service specialist AvosLocker insists it is responsible for yet another healthcare facility attack. If the allegation is true, AvosLocker has successfully stolen data from CHRISTUS Health in Texas. The healthcare company owns hundreds of facilities throughout the United States, South America, and Mexico.

What Information was Stolen?

A segment of the information stolen from the healthcare company and subsequently added to the hackers’ dark web site for leaks earlier this month contains highly sensitive information. Data from patients on the healthcare company’s cancer registry, including social security numbers, dates of birth, full names, and medical information, were exposed in the attack.  

Information from the nonprofit Catholic Health system’s 600+ facilities was exposed in the attack. The Irving, Texas-based healthcare group has operations in Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and sites abroad.

What was CHRISTUS Health’s Response to the Attack?

CHRISTUS Health issued a statement to Information Security Media Group, noting it had recently found unauthorized actions occurred on the network. The healthcare specialist says the unauthorized activity was identified and blocked through its information security systems. The group insists the attack did not compromise clinical operations or patient care.  

The healthcare provider is now working with cybersecurity specialists and authorities to thoroughly investigate the breach and address it through the proper channels. However, the company’s representatives failed to respond to questions as to whether the attack involved ransomware, the exfiltration of data, or extortion requests from actors affiliated with AvosLocker.

What Does AvosLocker Have to say About the Attack?

According to a post published on the AvosLocker website, it is responsible for ransomware as a service attack on CHRISTUS Health. The hackers performed a similar attack one month earlier when stealing information from McKenzie Health System, a health services provider in Michigan. The attack on CHRISTUS affected more than 25,000 individuals.

What is AvosLocker’s Ransomware Attack All About?

AvosLocker’s ransomware is feared for good reason. The hackers’ ransomware encrypts targeted files on servers, only to rename them using an extension that has .avos at the end. The hackers then hold the stolen information hostage until its ransom payment request is met. The AvosLocker ransomware collective accepts payment in cryptocurrency, including Monero and Bitcoin.

In some cases, AvosLocker representatives will call their targets via phone. In addition, the actors affiliated with AvosLocker are known for threatening DDoS attacks, short for distributed denial of service, then executing those attacks if the ransom demand is not met.

Though AvosLocker launched its ransomware as a service capability in the summer of this year, the program has quickly expanded to become one of the most feared. Some argue that it makes sense to pay the ransom request made by the likes of AvosLocker. However, the data in question is improperly accessed regardless of whether the ransom is paid, meaning it has been viewed and likely copied, so there is also merit to the argument that those victimized by ransomware attacks should refuse to pay.

The FBI has gone as far as issuing a joint advisory pertaining to AvosLocker. The hacking collective has targeted some of the most important power players in the country’s critical infrastructure sectors, demanding costly ransoms to return data and control of internal systems.
 

About the Author
IDStrong Logo

Related Articles

Instagram Vulnerability Allowed Hackers Access to Control Your Phone

Security experts Check Point Research discovered a critical vulnerability while examining Instagra ... Read More

Alien Malware Infects More than 226 Mobile Apps and Steals Bank Data

As reported on September 24, 2020, by ZDNet and ThreatPost, a new strain of malware named “Alien ... Read More

Universal Health Systems Hit by Ransomware Attack

Universal Health Systems (UHS), a Fortune 500 company owning more than 400 hospitals across the co ... Read More

Exchange Server Bug Exposes a Big Risk to Hackers

Months after Microsoft released a patch to fix a serious flaw in MS Exchange Server, more than 61% ... Read More

Clients’ Bank Data Exposed in Blackbaud Ransomware Attack

Blackbaud software was victim to a ransomware attack last May, and new information suggests that c ... Read More

Latest Articles

Flagstar Bank Breach Impacts More Than a Million Customers

Flagstar Bank Breach Impacts More Than a Million Customers

Flagstar Bank is in the news for the wrong reason. The bank recently publicized the fact that it discovered a digital breach.

Weekly Recap June 24 2022

Weekly Recap June 24 2022

We are nearly halfway through 2022. News stories detailing hacks and other digital breaches continue to roll in on a daily basis.

Cybercrime Related to Travel Soars at the Year’s Halfway Point

Cybercrime Related to Travel Soars at the Year’s Halfway Point

There has been a significant spike in tourism following the gradual decline of the coronavirus pandemic.  The increase in travel has caught the attention of digital miscreants looking to scam tourists as well as travel services providers.

Featured Articles

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

Buying your own home is the American Dream, but it might seem out of reach to those with bad credit. However, the good news is, if your credit is less than perfect, you do still have options and in most cases, can still buy a home.

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

Any good IT article on computers and network security will address the importance of strong, secure passwords. However, the challenge of good passwords is that most people have a hard time remembering them, so they use simple or obvious ones that pose a security risk.

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Senior scams are becoming a major epidemic for two reasons. First, seniors often have a lot of money in the bank from a life of working hard and saving.