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Why healthcare sector is coming under increasing cyber-attacks


Washington, Oct 10: One of the major industries that have fallen prey to cybercrime is healthcare and the last few years have seen a rise in breaches of the key industry, affecting a whopping 80 million people.

Why healthcare sector is coming under increasing cyber-attacks

In the US, the cyber-attack on health insurer Anthem saw hackers getting access to records of 78.8 million people and they included, besides patient records, highly sensitive data like social security numbers and home addresses. Earlier this year, Singapore's government health database was exposed in a cyber-attack as data of 1.5 million patients were hacked.

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Why is the healthcare industry coming under increasing attacks? A Forbes piece cited Peter Carlisle, head of EMEA at security company Thales eSecurity as saying: "In the US, stolen personal health insurance information can be used by criminals to obtain expensive medical services, devices and prescription medications, as well as to fraudulently acquire government benefits like Medicare or Medicaid."

Attacks on healthcare database could be all the more dangerous since it could lead to life-saving medications for people in need for urgent treatment get mixed up, said Carlisle.

He also said that in the UK, the healthcare sector is seen as a critical national infrastructure like water, power and transport networks and this makes it all the more lucrative for the hackers who want to wreak havoc, Forbes added.

It becomes all the more challenging to find an easy solution of this problem since the healthcare providers have financial hardships to effect overhauling of their IT systems but that hasn't stopped organisations from doing what they can to prevent the menace.

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"...according to the 2018 Thales Healthcare Data Threat Report, US healthcare has the highest percentage of respondents planning to increase spending for endpoint and mobile device security (62% compared with 57% global), despite their lack of effectiveness in preventing data breaches," said the piece.

Carlisle though cited one positive out of the danger. He said the consumers are more aware now about the healthcare data breaches and the organisations, too, are more alert about potential data breach than ever before.

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