If your personal data is a gold mine, your medical record is a diamond’s worth for cybercriminals. When worldwide healthcare facilities are in full crisis mode, bad actors roll up their sleeves and do what they know best in full force. Healthcare organizations suffered dozens of attacks and data breaches on every continent over the last year and a half like never before.
Chances are the rising trend of attacks will continue, putting at high risk anyone’s personal identifiable information, including yours. Not only that your data can be sold for profit, but you could be the victim of identity theft. In the worst-case scenario, attackers can even manipulate and change medical scans or test results, literally putting your health at risk. It sounds like something ahead of our time, but it’s quite a valid case.
Here’s a look at the whole picture of cyberattacks in the healthcare sector and why they’re a serious concern.
Healthcare Organizations Lack Cybersecurity Response Plan
Healthcare organizations in the US have been the leading target for cybercrime. Hardly a day went by without news outlets covering at least one such incident. Several countries have been seriously hit as well, including the UK, Germany, France, Singapore, and others.
According to a recent study, almost half of the surveyed American healthcare organizations aren’t almost at all prepared for a cyberattack. They lack an incident response plan even though they reported and confirmed an increase of over 70% in the number of confirmed data breaches. Without a doubt, the pandemic amplified the rise in these security incidents.
Within 2020, data breaches from hospitals and health care facilities exposed 12 billion pieces of protected health information (PHI). Although many hospitals admitted having experienced at least one data breach in the past, only a small number of them has managed to apply tighter security measures such as performing vulnerability tests or limiting network access.
Despite being aware of the problem, the priority for healthcare organizations was and still is to handle patient care, especially in these trying times.Source: HIPPA Journal, Causes of US Healthcare Data Breaches 2021
Examples of Healthcare Data Breaches
Whether successful phishing scams, ransomware attacks or unsecured network or data, hospital were caught off guard. Here are just some of the most recent attacks that involved healthcare organizations:
The High Cost of Leaked Patient Data
According to the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach report, the average price of a data breach went up from $7.13 million in 2020 to $9.23 million in 2021. This sum represents a significant effort for a healthcare organization that is already experiencing challenging moments, including in terms of overall financial costs. Health systems and facilities have been dealing with increased costs for treating COVID-19 patients and for all medical procedures.
The conclusion is simple: hospitals need to implement robust cybersecurity measures, and to take the preventive, not the reactive path.
On the other side, the value of your healthcare data can lead up to $250 per record on the black market, while for you, personal information is priceless.
You can’t always control how companies or even public organizations manage and secure your data. Whenever you can, though, rely on a VPN and a good private browser to avoid being tracked online. No one will be able to see your browsing history or follow your digital tracks.
Use our ID Guard and see if your email addresses have been compromised. CyberGhost ID Guard will alert you if your email addresses were part of a data breach.
Last but not least, check additional internet safety tips.
Did you ever find out your patient records were part of a data leak?
Let me know in the comments section below.