Ransomware attacks cost healthcare orgs $20.8B in 2020

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Ransomware attacks skyrocketed amid the pandemic when hospitals increased their use of remote work and moved more hospital data online, according to a July 21 report by cybersecurity consulting firm CynergisTek.

Five things to know:

  1. In 2020, 560 healthcare organizations were victims of ransomware attacks, the report said. 

  2. Ransomware attacks cost healthcare organizations $20.8 billion in downtime in 2020, double the amount it cost in 2019, according to a Comparitech report cited by CynergisTek.

  3. A separate IBM report found data breaches in the healthcare industry cost an average of $9.23 million.

  4. The cost of ransomware payments has put a strain on hospital budgets. Nonprofit hospitals and health systems have been especially affected by the costs of relentless cyberattacks.

  5. "Ransomware pay-outs and efforts to protect or 'harden' healthcare systems and cyber defenses are affecting hospital financial flexibility by increasing on-going operating expenses," Fitch Ratings said July 22. "Attacks may also hinder revenue generation and the ability to recover costs in a timely manner, particularly if they affect a hospital's ability to bill patients when financial records are compromised or systems become locked."

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