Are Healthcare Providers Under Siege from Ransomware Attacks?

By: Mack Jackson Jr

Healthcare businesses are, without question, threatened by ransomware. Hospitals have been the target of high-profile hacks in the United States in the past year, including an incident in which hackers held patient data hostage. This type of attack can have severe effects, not only on the hospital but also on the patients. Patients’ lives can be jeopardized if vital data is encrypted or taken hostage.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts a person’s files and then demands payment to decrypt them. In recent years, ransomware attacks have surged, and many healthcare institutions have been the target.

Over the past year, hospitals in the United States have been the target of ransomware attacks that got much media attention. In 2016, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was the target of a ransomware assault, which resulted in the payment of a ransom of $17,000. In 2017, two other hospitals were targeted for violence: the Methodist Hospital in Kentucky and the Lake City Medical Center in Florida.

Ransomware is not only a threat to healthcare institutions. Every organization with sensitive data is susceptible to ransomware assaults. However, the stakes are incredibly high in the healthcare industry, where lives may be at risk. Therefore, healthcare companies must be aware of the issue and take measures to protect their data.

In healthcare institutions, ransomware attackers often target a few specific elements. Electronic medical records are one (EMRs). These data sources frequently contain sensitive patient information and are housed on internet-connected servers. This sensitive information makes them an appealing target for ransomware attackers, who can encrypt the data and demand a ransom in exchange for its decryption.

These attacks could have serious consequences, not just for the hospital but also for the people who go there. If critical information is encrypted or held captive, it jeopardizes patients’ lives. The attack significantly impacted the quality of care provided to patients when it came to the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

Attacks using ransomware are, therefore, a significant threat to healthcare businesses. It is crucial for healthcare organizations to have a plan in place for how to respond to these kinds of attacks to safeguard both themselves and the people they serve.

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