There is a direct link between the cyber attacks suffered by healthcare facilities and the conditions of the patients who rely on their care.

This is highlighted by recent research carried out by the Ponemon Institute with the IT security company Proofpoint, “Cyber Insecurity in Healthcare: The Cost and Impact on Patient Safety and Care”, which involved 641 IT and health security professionals. According to the research, 89% of the organizations surveyed have suffered an average of 43 attacks in the last 12 months, almost one a week, while over 20% have suffered the four most common types of attacks (compromise of the cloud, ransomware, supply chain and corporate email compromise (BEC)/phishing spoofing – and has seen increased patient mortality rates in parallel.

Among the most common consequences of attacks, the study highlights delays in procedures and examinations, therefore a deterioration in the level of performance for patients (a problem indicated by 57% of the sample) and an increase in complications of medical procedures for almost half of them. Ransomware is also the most widespread attack in the healthcare sector, which is behind even heavy delays in performance or tests for 64% of organizations, and which causes longer hospital stays than patients for 59% of respondents.
“The attacks we have analyzed put a strain on the resources of healthcare organizations – explains Larry Ponemon, president and founder of the Ponemon Institute – The result is not only a huge economic loss but also a direct impact on patient care, which endangers their safety and health. The majority of IT and security professionals consider their organizations vulnerable to these attacks and two-thirds believe that technologies such as cloud, mobile, big data , and Internet of Things further increase the risks for patient data and safety”.

Author: Lorenzo Forlani
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