Healthcare Ransomware Attacks When Will They Stop?

The healthcare sector is still the main target for ransomware attacks, now more than ever before.

These ransomware attacks spiked in unimaginable numbers during the Covid-19 crisis. This rise is due to the situation’s sensitivity and the desperate need of the healthcare industry to remain intact during such times. Dentists and the offices of orthodontists in Calgary are considered soft targets by hackers, as they often lack the cybersecurity features of larger institutions like major hospitals

Notorious hacking gangs like REvil and DarkSide take advantage of the situation and try to leech off hospitals when they’re most vulnerable.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) with certain features to intercept, seize, steal, and block users’ data.

This attack happens through cybercriminals posing as trusted sources to trick companies, businesses, and individuals into clicking on links or media. Once the victim clicks on the link/media, malware is installed on the device, making it accessible to hackers to steal data from.

Those hackers block data or threaten to publish it unless a certain amount of money is paid through cryptocurrency.

96% of the time, the victim is forced to pay the ransom to avoid losing or exposing their private data.

Because the healthcare sector is quite a sensitive industry to bargain with, attackers take advantage of that every day. Especially during the pandemic, the healthcare sector was the main target for hacking gangs.

Not abiding by attackers’ terms means losing data that will affect thousands of patients.

Statistics on Healthcare Cybersecurity in 2020-2021

  • By the end of 2020, healthcare companies lost $6 trillion to security breaches.
  • In February of 2020 alone, more than one million records were breached across 39 healthcare data breaches.
  • The healthcare industry is expected to spend more than billion on cybersecurity by the end of 2021.
  • Between July 2020 and June 2021, more than 3 million healthcare records were breached.
  • In June of 2021 only, more than 19 data breaches of over ten thousand records occurred.
  • 60% to 80% of data breaches go unreported.
  • Over 39% of healthcare institutes become aware of breaches only months after they happened.
  • In 2020, healthcare suffered around 240 million hacking attempts.
  • Healthcare sectors invest less than 6% of their budget on cybersecurity.
  • More than 88% of healthcare workers opened phishing emails at least once.

What Measures Should Healthcare Sectors Take?

Healthcare sectors will be safer if they safeguard their data with types of protection software like antiviruses and VPNs.

1. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

A VPN is software that encrypts your data by rerouting it through a virtual, invisible tunnel. It creates a protected and private connection between the user’s device and the internet.

Virtual Private Networks also disguise the user’s IP address so that it cannot be accessed (If the hacker does not know your IP address, they cannot hack your device).

There are many VPN providers on the market, and many of them are competing to add better features for a lesser price. A comparison done by points out the most prominent features of two of the most popular VPNs on the market (Check it out here ZenMate VPN VS Hola).

2. Antivirus

Antivirus software, sometimes known as antimalware, is developed to detect, prevent, and remove malware from the user’s device.

The good thing about antiviruses is that they can detect phishing emails and malicious malware before you click on them, saving you a lot of money and trouble.

But it isn’t limited to being computer software.

For example, popular antiviruses like Avast developed secure browsers to help protect your online activity.

This might sound a little worrisome since most of the world uses Chrome browser as a default for their internet activity.

While Chrome is user-friendly and full of great features, it can be a bit lacking in privacy. This is why healthcare sectors need a more secure browser like Avast Secure Browser (Source: Avast Secure Browser VS Chrome).

Don’t wait until you’re being threatened to have your data stolen or breached. Take precautions so that you don’t have to deal with the inconveniences of ransomware attacks.

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