Medical records 10x more valuable to hackers than credit card information

Cybersecurity issues in healthcare have fallen to criticism lately in light of rising data breaches, notably the hacked server at Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems which compromised protected health information of 4.5 million patients.

Now, experts suggest that medical information is 10 times more valuable than a credit card number on the black market, according to Reuters.

"As attackers discover new methods to make money, the healthcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit," said Dave Kennedy, an expert on healthcare security and CEO of TrustedSEC, in the report. "Hospitals have low security, so it's relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud."

Hackers use stolen data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that they can resell. They also may use a patient number with a false provider number to file fraudulent claims with payers, according to the report.

What's more, medical identity theft is not immediately apparent, which gives hackers more time to use stolen credentials for fraudulent purposes, unlike credit cards that are instantly canceled upon detecting fraud, according to the report.

Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at cyber crime protection company PhishLabs indicated in the report that stolen health credentials can be sold for $10 each, which is between 10 and 20 times the value of a credit card number.

To protect patients, healthcare providers need to make cybersecurity a new priority, according to the report.

More articles on cybersecurity:

HITRUST: Shellshock virus more dangerous than Heartbleed
GAO finds HealthCare.gov still not fully secure
5 basic steps to health IT cloud security

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