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Nearly all UK health organizations have been hit by cyberattacks

medical healthcare doctor
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Wichy)

The likelihood that cyberattacks against healthcare organizations will cause loss of life is growing, new research suggests.

A recent report from security analytics firm Obrela Security Industries states that two-thirds (65 percent) of cybersecurity managers among UK healthcare organizations believe the loss of lives could happen as a result of cyberattacks against their systems.

Obrela polled 100 respondents in the UK and found that 81 percent suffered a ransomware attack in the last year alone. Of the victims, 38 percent paid the ransom demand to get their data back, while 44 percent chose not to pay the ransom and, as a result, lost the data. 

Two-thirds were forced to cancel in-person appointments as a result of the attack, also stating that these attacks could result in the deaths of patients. 

In the Obrela Q3 Digital Universe Study, a quarterly roundup of the attacks targeting Obrela’s customers in the last three months, the company said the attacks against the healthcare industry’s IT infrastructure were up 30 percent, compared to the second quarter of the year. 

During the last three months, healthcare organizations also experienced 36 percent more email security threats, a 24 percent more insider attacks, and a 20 percent more perimeter breaches.

For George Patsis, CEO of Obrela Security Industries, the findings should serve as a call-to-action for the security community and the UK Government.

“Organizations must reassess their security towards operational resilience and their ability to deliver their intended outcome against adverse cyber events. Rather than trying to buy the latest security technology, we need to understand that cybersecurity is not a product; it is a process," he said.

"Therefore, we need to increase the visibility of the digital cyberspace, control access, identify malicious activity and respond to security threats and vulnerabilities before they become problems."

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.