Black Market Medical Record Prices Plunge; Hackers Move On

Until recently, the black market price of medical records was very high compared to stolen credit card records.  Stolen medical records are used to get health care for people who do not have insurance and to submit fraudulent insurance claims.

Medical records used to go for as much as $50 for one complete record.

However, due to over-supply of stolen records, the price has plummeted.

Earlier this summer, hackers were offering medical records for about $12.  Now that price has gone as low as $1.50.

While stolen medical records can generate as much as $20,000 in profits, there is a problem.  In 2015, about 120 million medical records were stolen, causing a gut in the market.  Basic economics.  Supply and demand.  There just aren’t enough crooks to buy all these records.  And the insurance companies are getting better at detecting fraud!

So what is a self respecting hacker to do.  After all, you can’t pay for that Mercedes at $1,50 a record.

Move to ransomware, that’s what!

The great thing about ransomware is the instant gratification.  Unlike making false health insurance claims and hoping the insurance company doesn’t catch the fake claim, you send out a million malware laced emails, a thousand people get infected (that is one tenth of one percent). You tell them that if they don’t pay up in three days you are going to destroy the key.  If a quarter of those those people pay the ransom to get their data back (studies say the number is more like 75% pay), and you charge  1 bitcoin for the encryption key, 1,000 x 25% x 1 bitcoin, based on today’s prices, the hacker would earn over a quarter million dollars.  not a bad living.  And the hacker isn’t paying taxes, so his take-home is pretty good.

If it is 1.5 bitcoins instead and 50% pay, that number goes to around 700,000 bucks.  I could pay for my Mercedes with that.

And, unlike with healthcare fraud where there is a paper trail to use to get caught, there is no paper trail here, so the likelihood of getting caught is pretty low.

So, expect ransomware attacks to go up significantly in 2017 and be prepared so you don’t have to shell out Bitcoins.

On the bright side, healthcare fraud is going down.

Information for this post came from IT World.

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