Since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime has increased by 600%. It is not surprising, that the healthcare industry was one of the most vulnerable ones to cyberattacks in 2020 and 2021. In fact, the entire situation with the pandemic has fully demonstrated the vulnerability of the healthcare industry. Why did that happen? The answer is simple: today, personal data is one of the biggest assets. The hackers steal millions of medical records and sell them on the dark web.
Let’s see to what extent was the healthcare industry affected by cybercrime in 2020:
– Verizon confirmed that in 2020 data breaches in the healthcare industry increased by 58%.
– According to Interpol, 907,000 spam messages, 737 malware incidents,Who Cares for Healthcare? Facing the Biggest Cybersecurity Challenges Articles and 48000 malicious URLs were revealed only from January to April 2020.
– The National Health Service (NHS) lost over $100 million because of the WannaCry ransomware attack
– In 2020 the healthcare industry was affected by at least 1 breach every day caused by ransomware attacks. As a result, more than 27 000 000 patient records were sold by hackers.
– FBI confirmed that in the USA the cybercrime in the healthcare industry rose by 2,473 in 2020, resulting in a $30 000 000 loss.
– According to Check Point Research, cyberattacks on healthcare increased https://mobilieiron.com/ by 45% from November to December 2020. As for countries, by the end of 2020, Canada experienced a 250% rise in cyberattacks targeting the healthcare sector, Germany saw a 220% increase.
Cyberattacks in the healthcare industry are nothing new, hackers have always been attracted by the possibility of stealing and selling valuable data. Why was the healthcare sector hit especially hard in 2020?
1. Patients’ Personal Data; Health System Collapse
As stated above, private data is the main reason for cyber-attacks. The health records contain the most detailed and important personal data possible: addresses and phone numbers, social security numbers, even information on health habits.
Personal data can be sold and resold many times by multiple cyber-criminals.Moreover, the healthcare industry was significantly overloaded because of the COVID-19 situation. Any interruption or failure could be fatal. As a result, in case of ransomware attacks, hospitals would be more willing to pay a high ransom, in order to restore the system as soon as possible and to continue providing emergency medical assistance without interruption.
2. Vulnerable Networks; Weak Cybersecurity
The healthcare industry is not as protected in terms of cybersecurity as other industries: lack of cyber-awareness among employees, outdated software, vulnerable regulations. At the same time, hackers take advantage of the weak points in hospitals’ cybersecurity. For instance:
– the cybercriminals penetrate the unprotected or poorly secured networks
– when medical institution workers use personal gadgets, connecting them to the hospital network, it becomes even more exposed to the hackers
– multiple IoT devices, used more and more often in healthcare organizations, give easier access to the criminals