The health institutions or sectors are the most vulnerable in the cybersecurity area, attacks manage to affect institutions in a year for 5.6 trillion dollars. According to United States government agencies, in 2015, 253 violations were detected in hospitals, clinics, and health care providers in general. The disclosure of confidential patient information from those entities directly harmed about 500 people. The violations will place 112 million pieces of information from patients’ medical records in the hands of hackers and cyber activists.
The extreme importance of data on a person’s health is what makes companies in this sector so vulnerable to attack. One of the most common forms of violations is the hijacking (ransomware) of the patient’s medical record and request for reimbursement.
Generally, the patient is unaware of what happened, because the hospital or clinic is quick to pay the ransom to preserve both the patient’s reputation and their own image in the healthcare provider market. The consequences of a data breach are disproportionately high for the healthcare industry.
Besides, these attacks are not only directed at these companies but also use their name or many others to carry out phishing attacks with false information but very attractive to readers, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Why are health institutions a priority target for hackers?
Insurance Frauds Create Wealth for Criminals
Cybercriminals don’t just get the data to sell it. Criminals can also use medical records to fraudulently target insurance companies and government health systems. They can steal patient identities, for example, get free consultation or treatment, or even access to prescription drug revenue.
The thriving black market for health data
Data on people’s health status is very valuable to hackers, as they can sell it at high prices on the black market. In the United States, each patient record sells for more than $ 47. This is a high value if we compare it with what is paid for the data of a personal credit card they are marketed from 1 dollar. The goal of hackers is to make big money by doing huge breaches that threaten to display or sell the data of millions of people.
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