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The Healthcare Industry Has a Ransomware Problem

The Healthcare Industry Has a Ransomware Problem

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Ransomware hitting the industry hard

More than two-thirds of organizations in the healthcare industry have been infected with malware in the last year, a recent report revealed.

Malware infected 77 percent of healthcare organizations from August 2015 to August 2016, according to SecurityScorecard’s 2016 Healthcare Industry Cybersecurity Research Report. The research report analyzed security ratings of more than 700 organizations in the healthcare industry.

Cyber criminals often target the healthcare industry to gain access to PHI (protected health information). PHI often contains things like names, accounts, birth dates, medical records, social security numbers, etc. And this hacked information can then potentially be sold on the black market.

Malware comes in various forms, and one particularly troublesome type is ransomware.

Ransomware: a type of computer virus or malware that restricts access to the infected computer system and then demands that the owner of the infected system pay a ransom to regain access to the restricted files.

Medical treatment centers targeted

According to the report, 88 percent of healthcare manufacturers had malware infections in the past year. This places healthcare ninth in malware infections, compared to all other industries.

When it comes to ransomware, however, healthcare places fifth among all industries. And the majority of ransomware attacks occur at medical treatment centers. Nearly all — 96 percent — of ransomware in healthcare occurred at medical treatment centers.

Internet of Things to blame?

Increased connectivity of devices within medical treatment centers could be to blame for the majority of malware infections, the report noted. As long as Internet of Things (IoT) devices continue to be manufactured with poor security standards, the vulnerabilities will persist.

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