In the past ten years, cyberattacks on hospitals have increased in frequency. Due to the abundance of sensitive financial and personal data that hospitals store, the healthcare sector is a popular target for hackers. These attacks can have devastating effects, including the loss of vital data, a halt in business operations, and in extreme circumstances, even human life.
The top 10 hospital cyberattacks over the previous ten years are listed below.
- the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack.
One of the biggest ransomware attacks to date, WannaCry affected over 200,000 computers across more than 150 countries. As patient data and medical records were encrypted by the malware, rendering them inaccessible to hospital staff, the attack was especially harmful to hospitals. Hospital operations were severely disrupted as a result of the attack, which delayed patient care and put lives in danger.
2. 2015 saw the data breach at Anthem.
One of the biggest US health insurance companies, Anthem, experienced a data breach in 2015 that resulted in the compromise of the personal information of 80 million patients. It was a prime target for identity theft because the breach exposed social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses.
3. Dragon-sponsored operation (2012).
Hospitals were among the healthcare organizations in the US that were targeted in 2012 by the Chinese hacker collective “Comment Crew.”. Sensitive data including patient records, financial information, and designs for medical equipment were taken by the group. The assault was a part of a larger operation called “Operation Sponsored by the Dragon,” which hit a number of industries, including healthcare.
4. Data breach at UCLA Health System.
Over 4 million patients’ personal data were compromised in a data breach that targeted the UCLA Health System in 2014. An employee’s email account was used by a hacker to access the system, which led to the breach. Social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses are examples of sensitive data that the assailant was able to steal.
5. ransomware attack (2016) on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.
In 2016, a ransomware attack targeted Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, encrypting its computer systems and preventing hospital staff from accessing patient data. To regain access to its data, the hospital was required to pay a ransom of 40 Bitcoins, which were worth around $17,000 at the time.
6. Breach of data at Community Health Systems (2014).
Over 4 million patients’ personal data were compromised in a data breach that the Community Health Systems experienced in 2014. A hacker who entered the system via a third-party vendor was responsible for the breach. Social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses are examples of sensitive data that the assailant was able to steal.
7. Cyberattack on Blackbaud (2020).
Hospitals among other healthcare organizations, including the cloud-based software provider Blackbaud, experienced a data breach in 2020. Millions of patients were at risk of identity theft as a result of the breach, which saw sensitive data like social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses stolen.
8. Ransomware attack on MedStar Health. (2016)
A ransomware attack that encrypted the computer systems of the MedStar Health system in 2016 prevented hospital staff from accessing patient data. The attack severely disrupted hospital operations, which delayed patient care and endangered lives.
9. 2019 data breach at MultiCare Health System.
Over 500,000 patients’ personal data were compromised by a data breach at the MultiCare Health System in 2019. A hacker who used an employee’s email account to access the system was responsible for the breach. Social security numbers, dates of birth, and addresses were among the private data the attacker was able to take.
10. Data breach at Memorial Healthcare System (2019).
Over 115,000 patients’ personal data were compromised in a data breach that occurred at Florida’s Memorial Healthcare System in 2019. A third-party vendor who was using the system for maintenance purposes was the culprit of the breach. Due to the vendor’s credentials being compromised, the attacker was able to obtain private data including addresses, dates of birth, and social security numbers.
These cyberattacks show how susceptible the healthcare sector is to them and how urgently necessary it is for hospitals to take preventative action to safeguard patient information. The effects of these attacks may be severe and far-reaching, resulting in the loss of operations, the theft of private data, and in some extreme cases, even human life.
It’s crucial to implement strong security measures, such as installing firewalls, encrypting sensitive data, updating software frequently, and teaching staff to spot and report suspicious activity, to prevent cyber attacks on hospitals. A thorough incident response plan should also be in place at hospitals to ensure a quick reaction to any potential breaches. Hospitals can safeguard patient data and avoid a lapse in vital medical care by taking these precautions.