Hacking Patient Records and How to Protect Your Data From Hackers
Hacking Patient Records and How to Protect Your Data From Hackers
In recent years, hackers have targeted the medical industry with increasing frequency.

Hacking Patient Records and How to Protect Your Data From Hackers

These attacks can involve ransom payments or breaches. In this article, we'll look at common methods and the costs of such attacks. We'll also explore how to protect your data from hackers. This article was written to educate health care professionals and help them avoid becoming a victim.


Costs of hacking patient records

Hackers are now targeting health care facilities to steal confidential information. They know that healthcare data is valuable because it contains personal information, which criminals can use to commit crimes. Hackers often get access to this data through VPNs or credentials. Then, they can steal sensitive patient files. Consequently, healthcare facilities must take precautions to protect their data.


While smaller hospitals are less likely to be targeted, large hospitals still have a higher risk for a breach. In 2020, there were 39 high-profile breaches in the healthcare industry. These breaches cost the industry $6 trillion. In 2021, costs are expected to exceed $9.3 million per breach.


Common methods

Hackers can access patient records in a variety of ways. These include using stolen login credentials, shoulder surfing passwords, and accessing secure areas of websites to obtain valuable information. Some hackers even install special software on their computers to steal data. This software allows them to take screenshots of computer screens and obtain financial documents, social security numbers, and other personal information from patients.


Hacking health information has become a common crime. Some recent attacks have been attributed to Eastern European hackers, while others are attributed to people engaged in espionage. A report by news agency Reuters cited three major health care cyber-attacks that were conducted by Chinese hackers. Although this report does not confirm the authenticity of the sources, it does indicate that hackers are increasingly developing sophisticated tools to target these companies.


Costs of breaches

The costs of hacking patient records can be enormous. Individual records may only be worth a few cents, but healthcare data can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hackers can use this information for blackmail, identity theft, and other malicious purposes. It's not uncommon for hackers to pay as little as 25 cents to obtain a single record, but if they have access to millions of records, it can cost upwards of $1000.


Healthcare is a huge industry, and a recent breach at Anthem affected 80 million people. Large hospitals are more vulnerable to data breaches than smaller facilities. A Ponemon Institute report shows that breaches cost the healthcare industry $6 billion each year. In the same year, a single high-profile data breach can cost as much as $1 million.


Costs of ransom payments

Ransom payments for hacking patient records can be costly for hospitals and healthcare organizations. According to Sophos, three respondents paid ransoms of $1 million or more. However, 60% of ransoms were under $50,000. This likely reflects the financial constraints faced by healthcare organizations.


The data contained in a patient's medical records can be highly valuable to hackers. This information may include personal information, health information, and family demographics. These hackers know that they can keep the information if they are successful in demanding ransom. Ransom payments for hacking patient records have resulted in the loss of more than $1 billion for healthcare organizations.


Hospitals and healthcare systems in the United States are largely fending for themselves without investing in sophisticated security systems and consulting firms. In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was the victim of ransomware attacks. Hackers managed to steal 147,000 patient records. This incident has prompted class-action lawsuits against the hospital.


Cost of medical identity theft

Healthcare data is a high-value target for hackers. This data contains all the patient's personally identifiable information (PHI). Unlike a financial breach, which may contain just one piece of information, healthcare data typically compromises hundreds of thousands of patients. These attacks often have malicious intent and can be extremely expensive. One Trustwave report found that a single healthcare record could be worth more than $250, with payment card data coming in second with a value of $5.40.


Several hospitals have been the victims of ransomware attacks. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was hacked in 2016 and paid a ransom of $17,000 in cryptocurrency in order to restore access to its data. That amount is not inclusive of the time lost by clinicians while working without their systems. The network was unavailable for more than a week, requiring the hospital to use fax machines and telephones to communicate with patients. In the meantime, some patients were transferred to other facilities for treatment.