Many healthcare organizations and hospitals have been targets of cyber-attacks. One specific attack that has gained traction over the past few years has to do with ransomware, and this cyber-attack has spread throughout different countries, crippling healthcare services. As a result, cyber-security experts have come out to warn that ransomware attacks are occurring more rampantly than hospitals may realize.
Healthcare Organizations Suffer from Ransomware Attacks More than Once
The healthcare industry is no stranger to cyber-attacks, whether it is trying to gain access to employee information or patients EHR records. When the ransomware virus entered the scene several years ago, healthcare organizations and hospitals became profitable targets and had to find ways to prevent themselves from becoming victims of attacks.
Unfortunately, new research has revealed that some organizations that became victims of a ransomware attack did not make necessary changes to prevent another attack from occurring. Thirty-three percent of those responding to a survey stated they had been victimized more than once. This data, according to the Healthcare IT News website, came out from a new report from Kaspersky Lab that surveyed healthcare employees in Canada and in the United States. Many admitted not only to having been victimized by a ransomware cyber-attack but that it happened again.
The titled report, “Cyber Pulse: The State of Cyber security in Healthcare,” comes from a survey from a research firm called Opinion Matters. Over 1700 employees in healthcare participated, and their roles ranged from surgeons and doctors to IT staff and administration.
The survey showed a “continuous pattern of ransomware cybersecurity attacks plaguing organizations” within the healthcare industry as well as shedding light on employee behaviors and perceptions. Based on the results of the survey, one thing that stood out was how organizations do not always, the first time around, learn their lesson as 33 percent of those respondents whose organizations were victims of a ransomware cyber-attack acknowledged that employees were aware and that it happened more than once.
Acknowledging the Alarming Trend of Repeated Ransomware Attacks
The U.S. Department of Health stated that within 2018, there were over one hundred hacking/IT-related incidents involving healthcare organizations that affected more than five hundred individuals. This shows the monumental challenge of healthcare IT staff in trying to prevent more incidents involving their systems.
Digging deeper, one-in-four IT employees working in healthcare within North America revealed their employer fell victim, within the past year, to a cyber-attack that involved Ransomware. Many employees said there were up to five such attacks. This proves that opportunities to learn lessons as well as implementing new best practices were missed.
The survey also showed that the repeated attacks were not a result of a lack of care on the part of employees. Over seventy percent of employees who participated said the main reason for wanting appropriate measures to prevent ransomware cyber-attacks was to protect patients, While sixty percent wanted to protect the organizations and people they worked with. Lastly, roughly a third of those respondents stated their desire to not to lose their employment as a result of having inadequate cyber-security measures.
Rob Cataldo, who is the vice president of enterprise sales for Kaspersky Labs, said that, “through our study, we found that healthcare employees in North America were confident that their organization would not suffer a data breach in the forthcoming year, but whether they realize it or not, their industry is suffering hundreds of breaches a year. Healthcare companies have become a major target for cyber criminals due to the successes they’ve had, and repeatedly have, in attacking these businesses. As organizations look to improve their cybersecurity strategies to justify employee confidence, they must examine their approach. Business leaders and IT personnel need to work together to create a balance of training, education, and security solutions strong enough to manage the risk.”
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