How healthcare organizations can combat cyberattacks during the coronavirus


Lance Whitney

Cybercriminals tend to follow the money, which is why they so often hit large corporations and major businesses with ransomware and malware. But healthcare organizations can also be lucrative targets as criminals are aware of the value of patient information and medical data on the dark web.

As the coronavirus has spread since the start of 2020, cyberattacks against hospitals and medical facilities have shot up. A report published Thursday by global threat intelligence firm IntSights explains why healthcare organizations are vulnerable to attack and how they can better defend themselves.

Since February, attacks against hospitals and medical facilities have risen dramatically, IntSights said. Criminals have exploited the coronavirus pandemic to target collaboration tools, deploy virus-related scams, and exploit old and vulnerable legacy healthcare systems. Attacks have centered around ransomware, social engineering tricks, the theft of intellectual property, and the theft of databases of healthcare employees.

A third of all data breaches in the United States now occur in hospitals, while the number of breached personal records in the healthcare industry jumped from 15 million to 40 million just from 2018 to 2019. Healthcare organizations are especially vulnerable to cyberattack for three key reasons, according to IntSights.

Hospitals and medical facilities are home to a vast amount of sensitive data....

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