Nearly half of healthcare ransomware attacks disrupt hospital services

Nearly half of ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations disrupted care delivery, a Dec. 29 study in JAMA Health Forum found.

Researchers from Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota and Gainesville-based University of Florida analyzed 374 ransomware attacks on healthcare delivery organizations that occurred between 2016 and 2021. 

The researchers found that more than 44 percent of ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations hindered delivering healthcare to patients. And among those attacks, electronic systems went down 41.7 percent of the time, while care was canceled in 10.2 percent and ambulances were diverted in 4.3 percent of attacks.

The researchers also found that:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 attacks involved attackers making protected health data public, typically via the dark web.

  • About 16 percent of attacks disrupted operations for a week or more.

  • Clinics and hospitals were the most frequently targeted healthcare organizations.

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