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Health Care: Why So Many Breaches?

By Dick Weisinger

The US Healthcare Industry is in a security crisis. 70 percent of healthcare provider IT systems have been breached and roughly 30 percent were breached in 2018 alone, according to a report by Thales.

The cost of a data breach in the healthcare industry now averages almost $6.5 million per incident, a number more than 60 percent higher than other industries, according to Ponemon.

Christopher Scott, chief technology officer at IBM X-Force IRIS, said that “these costs may be growing even more in the wake of increasingly strict regulations, as we’ve seen regulators in both the US and the UK imposing record-breaking fines on companies for data breaches in the past few weeks alone.”

Why so many breaches in health care?

Frank Dickson, vice president at IDC, said that “when sensitive patient information is breached, it poses significantly longer-term risks compared to other sectors — sometimes indefinitely. Healthcare data is especially attractive to hackers because it’s far more valuable than other kinds of data that can be accessed and exploited. When healthcare data is stolen, damage cannot be fully mitigated. A credit card can be canceled or a bank account can be closed, but private patient data circulates endlessly which opens opportunities for various types of fraud to occur again and again from a single breach.”

Unlike other industries, there are more breaches in healthcare that are initiated from without than without. 59 percent of breaches were done by inside attackers versus 42 percent from external ones, according to analysis by Verizon.

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