Ransomware. It’s the latest buzzword, and everyone is talking about it, especially in healthcare.
Ransomware has become increasingly prevalent over the last year because it’s been so successful for the bad guys. According to the FBI, cyber criminals are on pace to collect $1 billion from ransomware payments in 2016. And data breach response insurance provider, Beazley, projects ransomware attacks will grow 670% from 2014 to 2016. That’s insane!
The statistics for the healthcare industry are even grimmer. Healthcare is the most breached industry. It sees 340% more security incidents and attacks than the average industry, and is more than 200% more likely to encounter data theft. Healthcare is 4 times more likely to be impacted by advanced malware than any other industry, and is 4.5 times more likely to be impacted by ransomware. And healthcare is 74% more likely to be impacted by phishing attacks than any other sector.
The Impact of Ransomware on Healthcare
A successful breach on a healthcare organization can mean:
- the loss of money,
- the loss of brand reputation,
- the loss of Protected Health Information (PHI), and sadly
- the potential loss of life.
According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study, the healthcare industry has the highest cost per record stolen of any industry at $363 per stolen record.
Unique to the healthcare industry, the impact of malware isn’t just a matter of losing money. As dramatic as it may sound, people’s lives are at stake. What happens if a hospital’s systems are down because of malware or a ransomware attack, and they can’t provide emergency services to a patient? Could that patient lose their life? Or could the delay in service cause additional health complications for that patient?
As an example, when MedStar was recently locked out of their systems as a result of a ransomware attack, they were unable to provide radiation treatment to cancer patients for several days. This is serious!
What Makes Healthcare a Prime Target
There are 3 main reasons why the healthcare sector is targeted so much by cyber criminals.
- Healthcare records contain the most valuable information. The data healthcare organizations store on patients includes personal identities and medical histories, which makes it a very complete data set. This is a goldmine for identity thieves. This is why healthcare records are about 10 times more valuable than credit card details on the black market.
- Healthcare data doesn’t change. Unlike other types of data cyber criminals steal, patient data stored by healthcare organizations can’t be easily changed. If your credit card company gets breached, you can easily change your username and password, and get a new credit card number. No big deal. But if your hospital gets breached, you can’t just go get a new social security number. Compromised health information can haunt you for a lifetime.
- Healthcare organizations don’t prioritize security. Because the healthcare sector in general hasn’t kept up-to-date with modern security practices like other industries have, attacks on them are more likely to be successful. If you compare healthcare to the financial industry, for example, the financial industry has devoted so many resources to protecting their data that attackers would rather focus on softer targets, like healthcare.
Luckily, Light Point Security’s isolated web browser can protect healthcare organizations from ransomware and other web-based malware. Our Full Isolation technology is the strongest in the industry, and offers the best user experience. Contact us today to learn how we can keep your data safe.