Hospitals are hit with 88% of all ransomware attacks

Hospitals and health systems have more to lose than organizations in other sectors when it comes to hacks. Patient data sells for more money than any other kind of information on the black market. Adding insult to injury, a new report suggests that the healthcare industry is hit significantly harder by ransomware than in any other — 88 percent of attacks hit hospitals.

Of the 88 percent of ransomware attacks that occurred in healthcare organizations, 94 percent were linked to a specific variant of software called Cryptowall, according to Solutionary's Security Engineering Research Team Quarterly Threat Report for Q2 2016.

One reason hospitals may be particularly vulnerable is they use so many systems and devices that there are more entry and pivot points for cybercriminals to exploit, according the report. 

“The most important steps in protecting your company’s and your customers’ data from the growing malicious ransomware onslaught are ensuring that you have a robust backup and recovery process, and that your security software is up-to-date and able to detect the most recent ransomware variants," Rob Kraus, director of research for Solutionary's SER team, said in a statement. "As the threat continues to evolve, it will be crucial for organizations to have defined incident-response procedures and proper detective and preventive controls in place to reduce ransomware’s impact."

Some of the most high-profile hospital data breaches in 2016 have been due to ransomware. In March, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California was locked out of its EHR for a week, and providers were forced to revert to pen and paper until the decision was made to pay hackers $17,000. 

More articles on ransomware:

Crysis: Security threat evolution in ransomware 
78% of organizations don't have a plan to deal with cybersecurity 
Hospitals aren't the only ones scared about data breaches 

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