In the past few years, we have seen the frequency of cyber attacks in the healthcare sector go up rapidly and large amounts of health data or ePHI compromised. So much so, that the FBI had warned the Industry back in Aug 2014 that its systems were lax compared with other sectors, making it vulnerable to hackers looking for Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) and/or Personally Identifiable Information (PII), bank accounts and other personal data.
Cyber criminals have been around for a long time. As per an article in Reuters, in the past decade, cyber criminals focused their efforts on attacking banks and retailers to steal financial data including online banking credentials and payment card numbers. But as those companies boost security, using stolen credit card numbers has become more difficult.
Their prices on criminal exchanges have also dropped, prompting hackers to turn to the less-secure medical sector, just as the amount of digital healthcare data is growing dramatically.
Stolen healthcare data can be used to fraudulently obtain medical services and prescriptions as well as to commit identity theft and other financial crimes, according to security experts. Criminals can also use stolen data to build more convincing profiles of users, boosting the success of scams.
All of these factors are making healthcare information more attractive to criminals.
In the latest and one of the biggest attack yet on the industry, Anthem Inc., the No. 2 U.S. health insurer, disclosed last week that a massive breach of its database containing nearly 80 million records has occurred, prompting investigations by state and federal authorities. That hack followed a breach last year at Franklin-based hospital company Community Health Systems Inc. which compromised some 4.5 million records.
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