Why Healthcare Organizations Become Victims of Multiple Ransomware Attacks

Sophos, an online security company, released a report saying that victims of ransomware attacks are likely to have more attacks within a year. It pointed out that healthcare companies will continue to be the target of multiple ransomware attacks.  The report was based on “The State of Endpoint Security Today” which is the survey report of research company Vancon Bourne. Surveyed participants included 2,700 IT managers of organizations with 100 to 500 users from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, U.K. Southa Africa and India. Below are the results of the survey:

  • 54% of the organizations had experienced one or more ransomware attacks last year.
  • The average ransomware attacks reported by the victims is two per organization.
  • The median financial cost resulting from the ransomware attacks (which included the ransom paid, rectification costs, downtime, etc) was $133,000 per organization.
  • The financial cost of the top 3% organizations that suffered a successful ransomware attack was $6.6 – $13.3 million.
  • The top targets of ranswomware attacks are as follows: healthcare industry (76%), energy industry (65%), professional services (59%) and retail industry (58%).
  • At the time of the ransomware attack, 77% of the organizations had up-to-date endpoint security working. 54% of organizations do not have specific anti-ransomware technology running.

Healthcare organizations spend a lot on IT and online security, yet they still often fall victims to ransomware attacks. Why is this so? The report consider the healthcare industry a soft target by cybercriminals because it has an aging IT infrastructure and do not have enough resources for improving IT security. Cybercriminals also like to target healthcare organizations because they are more likely to pay a ransom.

The results of the survey also seem to give a glimpse of the reason why the healthcare industry is prone to attacks. 60% of the respondents said they have insufficient cyber defenses to fight off ransomware attacks, although only 31% of them are expected to become ransomware victims.

Dan Schiappa, Sophos senior vice president and general manager, emphasized that ransomware attacks can happen again and again to an organization. Cybercriminals are using different ways to make their attack successful. They use ransomware, exploit remote access opportunities, infect a server or disable security software. So, healthcare organizations are advised to do the following to reduce the threat from ransomware:

  • review their IT infrastructure
  • identify the potential vulnerabilities
  • implement software security solutions
  • monitor users connecting with the healthcare network system
About Christine Garcia 1299 Articles
Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA