Hospital ransomware attack numbers in '23 already closing in on last year

After a small drop in ransomware attacks early in 2023, hospitals have recently been experiencing more of the hacks, Chief Healthcare Executive reported July 10.

"I have seen, unfortunately, an increase in high-impact ransomware attacks just in the past six weeks, and with multiple facilities being hit," John Riggi, national advisor for cybersecurity and risk for the American Hospital Association, told the news outlet.

More than 36 million people have been affected by hospital and health system cyberattacks as of late June, compared to 44 million for all of 2022, according to the story.

Some of the recent IT security events have also affected patient care. "We've seen so many ransomware attacks, even some in the last 60 days, at hospitals that have forced those hospitals to shut down their systems, canceled surgeries, ambulances diverted from emergency rooms, test results that are just not available," Steve Cagle, CEO of cybersecurity firm Clearwater, told Chief Healthcare Executive.

Hospitals and health systems must strengthen their cyber defenses, including setting up a governance structure around patient safety risk and coordinating with other healthcare organizations in their regions, experts told the news outlet. Mr. Riggi said IT leaders have to help staff realize that "cyber hygiene is as important as medical hygiene to protect the patients."

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