That's what some cybersecurity analysts are saying, and they may be right. If you keep up with our blog, you're probably well aware of the recent cyber attacks involving health insurers Anthem and Premera. These two major U.S.-based companies announced the unauthorized disclosure of millions of their customers data, attesting to the need for enhanced security in the healthcare sector.
The attack on Anthem, which is the second largest health insurer in the U.S. by the way, involves a jaw-dropping 80 million records. Both state and federal authorities launched an investigation into the attack due to its widespread and reaching implications. But this wasn't the only attack on a healthcare company, nor will it be the last.
Just weeks after Anthem announced it had been the victim of a cyber attack, Premera made a similar announcement. The Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate said hackers had infiltrated its systems and stole financial and medical data on millions of customers.
An unrelated report published by the Ponmon Institute found that nearly 1 in 2 healthcare organizations had been the victim of a cyber attack. That's a pretty startling revelation no matter how you look at it. The report also found that medical files were the most frequently targeted type of healthcare information, followed by billing and insurance records, payment details, scheduling dates, prescription dates, and monthly statements.
“The Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by ID Experts, reveals a shift in the root cause of data breaches from accidental to intentional. Criminal attacks are up 125% compared to five years ago replacing lost laptops as the leading threat. The study also found most organizations are unprepared to address new threats and lack adequate resources to protect patient data,” wrote researchers from the Ponmon Institute.
In the past, cyber criminals focused the majority of their hacking on financial institutions and retail stores, but there's an undeniable trend towards the hacking of healthcare organizations instead. This begs the question: why are hackers targeting healthcare organizations? One factor that's attributing to this disturbing trend is the simple fact that many healthcare organizations lack the necessary security to prevent attacks. Sure, they may have a firewall and virus scanner, but hackers have become increasingly savvy in their methods used to infiltrate systems, which is why it's important for organizations to use a vast array of safeguards and preventative measures.