healthcare industry

The global pandemic of 2020 brought a shift from working in traditional brick and mortar facilities to working in a remote or hybrid capacity from home. With the increased reliance on technology, the era of Covid has also become the era of the hacker, with evidence already pointing to a huge increase in cyber attacks in 2021. Computer hackers are taking advantage of the world’s preoccupation with the coronavirus to access susceptible networks, putting the availability, integrity, and security of sensitive data at risk.

In 2019, the healthcare industry lost an estimated $25 billion due to ransomware attacks. Over 93% of medical companies fell victim to a data breach over the last three years. In May of 2021, Scripps Health fell victim to a life-threatening ransomware attack that prevented patients and medical professionals from accessing critical data on such things as prescriptions and test results. This attack lasted for weeks and took a huge toll on the company and its many subscribers. While no organization is exempt from these crimes, there are a number of reasons healthcare is the biggest target for cyber attacks.

Reliance on Technology

A huge risk to healthcare systems is the reliance on internet-connected equipment for patient care. While this is beneficial for data integration and clinical support, it leaves the organization vulnerable to cyber attacks. Any network-connected devices are potential targets for hackers, including radiology equipment, patient records, lab results, implanted equipment, such as pacemakers, and even hospital elevators. Disruption of any of these can block access to crucial patient data, prevent drug infusion devices from delivering needed medication, and even shut down an entire hospital subject to ransom demands. Attacks against these organizational systems can be extremely costly in both dollars and lives. Cybercriminals recognize the critical nature of these networks, making the healthcare industry a prime target.

Lack of Cyber Security

Medical facilities are historically underprepared for computer crime, such as the cyber attacks in 2021. Experts say the healthcare industry as a whole lags behind others, such as the financial sector, in its methods of protecting its technology infrastructure. Because of HIPPA, hospitals typically invest in security systems that protect the privacy of patient data, but tend to ignore the risks that exist to patients when their equipment is hacked, preventing delivery of proper care. Most hospitals don’t employ full-time cybersecurity staff. A lack of resources leads to a lack of training, which leads to a lack of awareness. As a result, it generally takes a long time for employees to even notice that an attack is underway, allowing the cybercriminals to further infiltrate the organization and cause additional damage.

There is no evidence that the recent increase in computer crime will slow or cease. As healthcare technology improves and expands, the industry’s investment in cybersecurity must improve and expand along with it.

About Connected Risk Solutions

At Connected Risk Solutions, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.