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January 9, 2023

Around the nation: HHS warns health sector about new ransomware threat

Daily Briefing

    HHS warned the health sector about a new ransomware threat, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and South Carolina.

    • District of Columbia: HHS warned the health sector that the Clop ransomware group has been sending health care facilities medical files disguised to seem like they are being sent from doctors. The files appear to request medical appointments to get facilities to open and review the documents. "As these primarily Russian-speaking foreign ransomware gangs compete for victims to exploit in their own highly competitive criminal subculture, they are forced to evolve their attack techniques," said John Riggi, American Hospital Association's national advisor for cybersecurity and risk. "Here, the Clop ransomware gang has done so in a very sinister way—by infiltrating themselves into the normal clinical workflow between physicians and developing highly convincing phishing emails based upon the public profiles of clinicians. It is recommended that staff be educated to this latest tactic. It is also recommended that advanced email and endpoint malware protection and detection systems be deployed across the enterprise as a layer of defense to help counter this and all ongoing cyberthreats to hospitals and health systems." (AHA News, 1/5)
    • New Jersey: Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday filed IPO registration documents for its consumer health products spin-off Kenvue. The spin-off, which was first announced in 2021, covers several household brands, including Tylenol, Band-Aid, Johnson's Baby Powder, Listerine, Neutrogena, and Nicorette. For the nine months ending Oct. 2, 2022, Kenvue reported $1.7 billion in net income on $11.2 billion in sales. (Primack, Axios, 1/5)
    • South Carolina: The South Carolina state Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the state's six-week abortion ban. The law, which was blocked in 2021, went into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Following the South Carolina court's ruling last week, abortion is now legal in the state until the 22nd week of pregnancy. According to a spokesperson from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which was part of the case, this case marks the first state supreme court to rule on whether abortion is a constitutional right since Roe v. Wade was overturned. The law was struck down in a 3-2 decision, with the court ruling that it violated the South Carolina Constitution. In particular, the three justices that supported overturning the law agreed that it violated the state's right to privacy. "[F]ew decisions in life are more private than the decision whether to terminate a pregnancy. Our privacy right must be implicated by restrictions on that decision," wrote Justice Kaye Hearn. In addition, Hearn said the six-week ban was an "unreasonable restriction upon a woman's right to privacy and therefore unconstitutional." The court also said six weeks is "not a reasonable period" for an individual to find out they are pregnant and to decide to have an abortion. (Gonzalez, Axios, 1/5)

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