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Cyber attacks targeting the US healthcare system now cost the country roughly $6 billion per year. The uptick is directly related to organized crime units shifting their attention from financial firms and large retailers to healthcare providers.
According to a report from Bloomberg, attacks against healthcare providers have more than doubled over the last half decade. Even more troubling is the fact that nearly 90 percent of providers have been hit with an attack over the past two years alone. The average data breach is said to cost a hospital $2.1 million.
Earlier this year, the nation’s second largest health insurance provider – Anthem – said as many as 80 million personal records may have been compromised during a recent security breach. Experts say that while breaches like these have helped raise awareness, most healthcare targets still aren’t prepared to handle a sophisticated attack.
Why would a criminal be interested in medical records, you ask?
Such records contain valuable information including social security numbers, insurance credentials, medical details and more. This is all desirable data that crooks can sell for as much as 20 times the price of a stolen credit card, says Dell SecureWorks. Once in the hands of a buyer, the information can be used to open a line of credit, take out a loan or even seek free medical care under the victim’s name.