Healthcare Sector Hit by 187 Million Cyber Attacks Per Month

Healthcare Sector Cyber Attacks

New research has emerged stating that the healthcare sector is being bombarded by 187 million cyber attacks per month, with hackers looking to capitalise on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The numbers come from cyber security specialists Imperva, who says that cyber attacks launched against the healthcare sector have spiked by 51% due to the pandemic. 

This has translated to the healthcare sector being bombarded by more than 187 million cyber attacks per month- representing an extremely attractive prize for hackers to compromise. 

The data shows that the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Brazil are the most common targets for cyber attacks being launched against the healthcare sector. 

The cyber security firm says that the total 187 million cyber attacks being launched against the healthcare sector each month means that each organisation is being targeted on average 500 times every month. 

Researchers have noted that the year-on-year increase “underscores the growing vulnerability of web applications for healthcare organisations – many of which are still struggling to manage the demands of the ongoing global pandemic.” 

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Interestingly, Imperva’s Terry Ray says that “while the volume of attacks increased in 2020, reports show that the number of breaches decreased. As someone who has worked in cybersecurity for more than 20 years, this makes no sense.” 

Ray continues to explain that “my hypothesis is that many organisations likely don’t know the extent or impact of these attacks yet. The reason being: for most of the year, healthcare was focused on trying to enable remote work while managing the frontline logistics of a global pandemic.” 

As a result of this new-found focus on maintaining operations and ensuring continuity through remote working, “less time was spent on threat research, incident response and incident analysis.” 

Instead, Ray predicts that a number of large-scale data breaches will come to light in the early stages of 2021, as organisations become aware of the fact they were breached in the first place. 

Mr Ray added that “while ransomware attacks commonly land healthcare organisations in the news, it’s only the vulnerable application front-end to all healthcare data that experiences the variety and volume of daily attacks noted above.” 

According to numbers from the latest IBM Cost of a Data Breach report, it takes on average 280 days for an organisation to identify a data breach. 

This is a particularly damaging figure considering the fact that organisations can stand to save more than $1 million in remediation costs if the breach is detected in less than 200 days.

Imperva’s Terry Ray continued to explain that there is some research to strengthen his hypothesis, pointing to the fact that “in the first three days of 2021, Imperva researchers saw a dramatic 43% increase in data leakage, the unauthorised transmission of data from within an organisation to an external destination or recipient, which is often the result of a breach.” 

To find out how you and your organisation can remain vigilant in the face of cyber attacks and threat actors looking to compromise the information you’re taking care of, get in contact with Best Practice today.

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