The number of cyberattacks on healthcare facilities increased dramatically last month. With 68 worldwide cyberattacks on healthcare institutions in the third quarter of this year alone, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) has warned of troubling tendencies in 2021.
Sixty-eight healthcare providers were locked out of their networks by ransomware attacks in the third quarter of this year, putting patient safety and privacy at risk.
“In total 68 ransomware incidents impacting healthcare organizations worldwide occurred during Q3. HC3 found that about 63% of these ransomware incidents impacted the U.S. health sector while 37% impacted healthcare organizations outside the United States. The top countries impacted by these ransomware incidents in the health sector outside the U.S. included France, Brazil, Thailand, Australia, and Italy,” HHS wrote in its report.
Without a holistic whole-institution cybersecurity approach, experts fear that patients would be unable to get necessary treatment at a targeted hospital.
The Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, Israel, and Johnson Memorial Health Hospital in Franklin, Indiana, are just two examples of targeted medical facilities. The early-October incident at Johnson Memorial Hospital locked databases and exposed patient data.
A ransom sum was mysteriously not asked until days following the hack. Hillel Yaffe Medical Center was attacked by Black Shadow, an allegedly Iran-backed gang, in early November. Investigators believed it would take many weeks to retrieve and grasp the entire magnitude of what had been accessed because 290,000 people’s personal data had been leaked.
Healthcare facilities’ outdated OT technology becomes exposed to hackers as they upgrade. Water, HVAC, oxygen, electrical, and other key systems are all interconnected, yet they may not be appropriately monitored or protected in terms of cybersecurity. Any of these utilities being compromised will have a detrimental influence on patient care, perhaps putting the lives of individuals being treated at risk.