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Hackers are after your healthcare data

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Wichy)

Hospitals and other healthcare companies and institutions are feeling the heat of cyberthreats, as the number of attacks against them rises day in, day out. This is according to a new report from Malwarebytes, which says that it detected 60 per cent more attacks against them this year, compared to the year before.

To make matters even worse, it was comparing the entire 2018, with the first three quarters of 2019. Malwarebytes says hospitals are prime targets for cybercriminals, as they mostly operate with “aging infrastructure, low IT budgets and a wealth of personally identifiable information (PII)”.

The healthcare industry is mostly targeted by malware, it says.    Two most dangerous Trojans in the past year were Emotet and TrickBot, with the former taking the spotlight for the first half of the year, and TrickBot stealing it in the second half.

“Healthcare is vital to our population, industries and economy, which is why it’s an especially concerning industry to see targeted by cybercriminals,” said Adam Kujawa, Director of Malwarebytes Labs.

“Emotet, TrickBot, exploit, and backdoor detections targeting healthcare organizations are known to drop ransomware payloads later in their attack chains. For too long, these organizations have suffered due to antiquated equipment and underfunded IT departments, making them especially vulnerable. We should be arming healthcare now with extensive security measures because this pattern suggests that ransomware is looking to penetrate healthcare organizations from several different angles.”

Despite the surge in interest, healthcare is still far from being the most popular industry among criminals. It currently ranks seventh, way below education and manufacturing, which took the first two spots. Hackers usually try to take advantage of weak security postures – a consequence of staff negligence, user error and poor patching cadences.