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Healthcare industry is increasingly a target for cybercriminals

The healthcare industry is increasingly looking like a tempting target for cybercriminals, according to a new piece of research.

The study in question is the 2015 Security Health Check Report from Trustwave, which took in the opinions of almost 400 professionals working in healthcare in the US.

And no less than 91 per cent of respondents on the technical side said they believed that malicious parties are increasingly targeting healthcare organisations (compared to 77 per cent of non-technical respondents – although that’s still a high figure).

Medical data is obviously of a sensitive nature, and therefore quite a potential prize for cybercriminals – and indeed the reputation of the health sector as a soft target in terms of defences won't help.

Indeed, the survey also pointed out that only 10 per cent or less of healthcare organisation's IT budget is put into security measures to protect patients' data.

When asked whether they were concerned about their company being breached by a hacker, 74 per cent of technical respondents said they were (and 51 per cent of non-technical respondents).

And just over a third of technical respondents said that they believe their organisation does not have enough staff members dedicated to security, with the same amount stating that their company only performs vulnerability testing once per year.

65 per cent of non-technical respondents said external threats were much more of a worry than insiders, and a quarter indicated that their organisation doesn't have an incident response plan.

Steve Kelley, senior vice president of corporate and product marketing at Trustwave, commented: “Today’s health care industry is under attack. From hospitals to physicians to urgent care clinics, health care organisations are swimming in consumer data and must make security a priority in order to protect it.

“Security challenges are nothing new for any business but the level of distress exponentially increases when someone’s life may actually depend on the protection of sensitive data.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Benoit Daoust (opens in new tab)

Darren Allan
Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.