“Many articles about cybersecurity risks in healthcare begin with descriptions of live simulations (so when in Rome). Imagine a doctor completely unaware of what they’re walking into triaging two patients: one in need of a hospital cardiac catheterization lab after an irregular electrocardiogram (EKG) reading, the other suffering from a stroke and needing a CT scan. All systems are down due to ransomware, so the physician working through the scenario can’t access electronic health records or use any of the assessment methods modern medicine is so reliant on. So, what to do?
There are all kinds of scary scenarios like this that become possible when a hospital or other healthcare provider gets pwned. And the health industry has consistently been getting pwned as of late. In 2019, health organizations continued to get hit with data breaches and ransomware attacks, costing the sector an estimated $4 billion. Five US healthcare organizations reported ransomware attacks in a single week last June. A Michigan medical practice closed last spring after refusing to pay ransomware to attackers. And in 2018, when comparing a range of work sectors that included education, healthcare, general professions, and finance, healthcare entities’ portion of all breaches and security incidents was at 41 percent—the highest percentage of any sector. The attacks are even becoming more severe and more sophisticated, too.”