Why Ransomware Attacks are Rising in Healthcare

Jul 19, 2018 | IT Services

Many industries are suffering from ransomware attacks, but healthcare organizations, in particular, have become the main target of many cybercriminals.

ransomware attacks in healthcareCase Regional Medical Center in Harrisonville, MO is one of the largest employers in the region with over 400 employees. On July 9, 2018, the hospital posted on their Facebook page that they had experienced a ransomware attack. This attack led to the hospital’s vendor shutting down the system as an added precaution. According to Case Regional’s Facebook post, the hospital did not find any evidence of a patient data breach.

These attacks are far from new. Many industries are suffering from ransomware attacks, but healthcare organizations, in particular, have become the primary target of many cyber criminals. According to the Cylance 2017 Threat Report, ransomware attacks in healthcare rose from 34% in 2016 to 58% in 2017. For perspective, the second highest industry attacked is food, but it is a distant second coming in at 13%. Reasons for this uptick in attacks can range from:

Lack of Funding:  Many healthcare organizations are already juggling a tight budget, and purchasing, installing, or upgrading equipment often falls behind on the list.

The Value of Medical Data: Often these attacks are to obtain information that can later be sold on the Dark Web, and medical data is quickly becoming more valuable than credit card information on the Dark Web.

The Payout: It is advised to never give in to the demands of the ransom, however, 23% of organizations hit with a ransomware attack pay the ransom. While that may seem like a small number, it’s still a quick and lucrative payday for a cybercriminal.

An attack on an organization the size of Case Regional Medical Center is a perfect example of how important it is to invest in IT security, including:

  • Using reputable antivirus software and firewall protection.
  • Regular backups to ensure shorter downtime.
  • Use caution and enable popup blockers.

To learn more about ransomware and how you can protect your organization against attacks, read our Ransomware Protection Guide.

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