Healthcare providers continue to rely on interconnected information technology systems and digital care delivery to improve healthcare outcomes. In response, ransomware attacks are increasing, both in number and in sophistication. The attacks threaten the clinical and clerical operations of healthcare enterprises of all sizes. JAMA published an alarming study to show that the number of ransomware attacks targeting healthcare organizations doubled in the last five years. These attacks disrupted care and exposed the personal health information of nearly 42 million patients.
Ransomware attacks usually involve the installation of malicious software on vulnerable systems and technology through any number of vulnerabilities, such as email phishing links or disguised as software updates. Once installed, the ransomware software locks healthcare organizations out of their own data, whole data storage systems, or targeted technology devices. The cybercriminals behind ransomware attacks then threaten to release, permanently encrypt, or delete patient data—in some cases, all three—unless the organization pays the ransom demand. Continue Reading Ransomware Attacks at Record Levels; Healthcare Organizations Must Be Ready Via Data Security and Disaster Response Policies and Procedures