On September 9, in a hospital in Dusseldorf, Germany, a patient died from a virus. It wasn’t what you might think: the hospital was hit by ransomware, infecting 30 servers before causing a total system shutdown, leading to the loss of her life. Yet this was a random act of chaos: the hackers misfired, they intended to infiltrate a nearby university.

This attack was fatal, but not unexpected. Attacks on hospitals and other health organizations have dramatically increased during the pandemic. When they hit, they can cost lives. Hospitals often have limited cybersecurity, making them vulnerable to attacks. In March, the University Hospital Brno, Czech Republic, faced a similar attack, fortunately, with no casualties.

For the latest hacker episode:HUNTER, we spoke to hospital staff to understand how ransomware attacks could harm patients.

Where there’s panic, there’s cybercrime

During the peak of pandemic information overload, COVID-19-themed cyberattacks spiked to a million a day in early March. Attacks targeting people access systems remotely – such as phishing, malicious websites, and malware – increased by a staggering 300 times during 2020.

Craig Jones, Director of Cybercrime at Interpol, explains: “Since March, the levels of work have ramped up. I’ve never known a period like it, not just at Interpol but also during my law enforcement experience.” Check out Interpol’s advice to protect yourself against Covid-19 cyberthreats.

So what can we do in a world where cybercriminals seem to be one step ahead of us? Hunting down the hackers is no easy task, but as the heroes in the second season of hacker:HUNTER shows, we can protect everyone by taking a stand against cybercrime.