Lawmakers urge Biden administration for improved healthcare cybersecurity practices

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) urged the Biden administration to strengthen the federal government's cyber defenses in healthcare amid a spike in cyberattacks, The Hill reported Aug. 18. 

In a letter addressed to the Department of Health and Human Services, the lawmakers pushed the agency to better protect the healthcare and public health sectors from cyber threats and said they're concerned with the department's lack of timely information sharing about ongoing threats. 

"With cyber threats growing exponentially, we must prioritize addressing the [health care and public health] sector's cybersecurity gaps," wrote Mr. King and Mr. Gallagher. "Ransomware attacks on the [health care and public health] sector have skyrocketed in the past two years as opportunistic criminals recognized that hospitals may pay quickly to resolve issues and protect patient safety." 

The lawmakers also requested to meet with health officials in the Biden administration for an update on their current cyber posture. 

The push to improve healthcare cybersecurity comes as the healthcare sector saw a 328 percent increase in ransomware attacks in the second quarter of this year.

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