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The FBI warns Conti ransomware hits Ireland and targeted 16 U.S. medical, emergency networks

Conti Ransomware Alert

The FBI has issued a warning to hospitals in Ireland regarding the recent spread of a deadly “bot” virus which has been infecting computers across the globe. This is the same virus that has had people’s lives turned upside down and cost millions of dollars to repair. The virus infected the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) computer network, causing it to deny insurance claims because it was not deemed by the system to be safe for patient files. As a result, many of the most important healthcare information in the U.S. was lost. The problem is the spread of this particular virus has now hit the Health Care Infrastructure in Ireland. Although the Department of Health has issued a warning to all hospitals in the country against the spread of the ContiRansom, the government is also taking measures to deal with the issue on its own.

Over 400 organisations worldwide have been victimised by Conti with over 290 of which are located in the U.S as repoted the FBI. The FBI alert was made public on Thursday by the American Hospital Association.

Recently ransom demands have been as high as $25 million for removal of the virus on infected systems.

What is Conti?

What exactly is the ContiRansom? This is a highly infectious “bot” virus which installs itself onto computers and then operates silently and automatically. It works by installing itself onto infected systems and then works to remove various important files and settings from the hard drives of the computers. As a result, many important files inside the system are inaccessible. In a worst case scenario, the virus could wipe out entire folders and files right from the system’s boot up. This makes restoring your system very difficult.

In many cases, the virus has shut down crucial processes and features within the operating system. As a result, the healthcare organizations have reported seeing issues with patient data and hospital operations. In other cases, the software has caused applications to stop working. Many hospitals throughout the county have found that the software has caused their databases to go offline or not work. The FBI has issued a warning to anyone who may be infected with this virus. If you are infected, you should immediately delete the virus from your PC and then use an anti-malware removal tool to get rid of any remaining traces of the infection.

So how did the FBI get notified about ContiRansom? The actual infection wasn’t actually noticed until the FBI received a complaint in January. Emails were being sent out to a fake address in India, which is used for sending spam emails. A sample of the spam was eventually found on one of the computers at a major hospital in Ohio.

Not only was the virus attached to the medical database, but it also had been downloaded onto hundreds of different computers across the country. Once the virus was installed, it began to change the system settings. Some of the infections caused the computer to trip out or malfunction, while others redirected web traffic. In order to fight back against the virus, the FBI has issued numerous warnings. Most of these advisories state that infections are extremely serious and that they strongly recommend all users avoid using the affected software.

While the FBI may have issued several warnings about ContiRansom, it’s important to note that not all anti-malware software will remove the virus. Sometimes the infections are so deep that they can only be removed with the help of a dedicated spyware removal program. For this reason, many people prefer to use a scanning tool to remove the virus before it’s too late. To protect yourself, always download anti-malware tools from a trusted source. Even if the virus doesn’t target you, your identity is at risk!

Matthew Giannelis

Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry.

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