Healthcare Ransomware Attacks and How to Prevent from Becoming a Statistic

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Of all industries that have the most to lose from a cyberattack, healthcare facilities are near the very top of the list. When you consider the importance of HIPAA compliances that they follow to keep sensitive data and patient information secure and how detrimental a hack into their systems would be, the implications of a cyberattack are frightening.

According to the Ponemon Institute, in 2016 88% of all ransomware attacks in the United States targeted the healthcare industry. Just last year, six of the top ten HIPAA breaches reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stemmed from ransomware.

In these cases, cybercriminals hold important data for ransom until the healthcare organization complies with their monetary demands. In the meantime, these devious hackers can discreetly steal valuable data and delete potential backups and servers along the way. It’s, unfortunately, more common than most realize. Here are just a couple of significant healthcare ransomware breaches that transpired in 2017:

Women’s Health Care Group of Pennsylvania

Roughly 300,000 individuals were affected by a ransomware virus that was installed on one of WHCG’s servers. Like most cases, this likely resulted from a single workstation that was infiltrated poor security measures or inappropriate security practices. The hospital was not only unable to access patient data, but the attacks also exposed sensitive records that ranged from names and social security numbers to lab test results, medical record numbers, and insurance details.

Airway Oxygen Inc. and Purity Cylinder

This was an even worse attack, as 500,000+ individuals were affected by this ransomware strike. The cybercriminals involved in this breach withheld access to healthcare data that included customer/end users and payment sources of patients. Like the aforementioned attack, such things as home addresses, telephone numbers, and diagnosis information were held ransom for a hefty price.

How can Healthcare Facilities Avoid Ransomware Attacks?

In the digital era we live in, cyberattacks are so difficult to avoid. As technology evolves and innovations emerge, criminal hackers are tirelessly working to crack codes and discover vulnerabilities. Think about other infamous breaches that have occurred in recent years (take Equifax, Target, and Yahoo as prime examples), and you’ll realize how commonplace these attacks are.

However, most of these cyberattacks can be attributed to poor IT security practices, a lack of industry knowledge, and a mindset fallacy revolving around the notion, “this would never happen to me.” If you’re in the healthcare industry, there is a singular best solution to prevent yourself from becoming a statistic: Rely on IT experts like those at Stability Networks.

How an Effective MSP Eliminates Ransomware Threats

At Stability Networks, we have the knowledge, tools, and resources to keep your healthcare organization safe from ransomware attacks. As a Managed Service Provider, we work 24/7 to protect your network with the latest anti-virus and anti-malware software, and backup all data you store in the cloud or within your data center. Our HIPAA Compliancy Planning and Management Services ensures the confidentiality of patient information and increases the efficiency of your day-to-day administrative tasks. Beyond this, we’ll train your team members to stay up to date with the latest trends in healthcare cybersecurity best practices.

Seeking More Advice?

Contact our 24/7 helpdesk at Stability Networks today! We provide eClinicalWorks and Allscripts healthcare applications which gives our technicians the experience and training necessary to help your medical practice improve efficiency, safety, and patient care. Call us today and learn why medical practices throughout Idaho trust Stability Networks for all their healthcare IT needs.

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