How Cyberattacks Have Hurt the Healthcare Industry in the U.S.

As cyberattacks have become increasingly common in recent years, it’s no wonder that they’ve affected all kinds of industries, including healthcare organizations around the world. In the United States, meanwhile, these attacks on hospitals and others companies have cost nearly $150 million in damages over the last four years, according to a recent article by Forbes based on a new report.

“Today’s threats are far more sophisticated and, accordingly, the cost to recover from an infection is much higher,” as noted by the article. “According to a new report from Comparitech, a total of 172 ransomware incidents have cost the U.S. healthcare industry more than $157 million since 2016.”

The article then goes on to breakdown how cyberattacks have cost the United States so much money over the years: “Actual ransom demands only account for about 11% of that. Comparitech estimates that cybercriminals sought around $16.4 million from the attacks. The other 89% of the bill covers remediation costs and downtime.”

Notably, nearly all states have been hit by these cyberattacks, according to Forbes. There are five states, however, that have never been targeted in the last four years: Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Vermont.

Interestingly, California is the state that has been hurt the most by cyberattacks and ransomware incidents (25), while Texas comes in at number two with 14.

“In all, Comparitech says that more than 1,400 clinics, hospitals, and organizations had their operations impacted. Hospitals and clinics have been the most targeted by a wide margin, accounting for nearly 75% of attacks,” according to Forbes.

Beyond the fact that these ransomware attacks cost the businesses valuable time and money, they directly impact patient confidentiality, according to the article. “Ransomware aimed at the health care industry frequently targets databases that contain highly-sensitive patient records. Over the same four-year span, Comparitech says that more than 6.6 million records have been compromised.”

In sum, ransomware attacks and cybersecurity issues have led to a huge cost to the healthcare industry over the last four years. Unfortunately, many more attempts at stealing user information are likely to come. Therefore, it’s crucial that organizations ramp up their efforts against hackers as soon as possible to protect their customers’ and patients’ data no matter what.