American healthcare looses $78 billion to ransomware attacks

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A recent report by Comparitech reveals that the healthcare sector in the United States has incurred staggering losses of $78 billion due to ransomware attacks. These losses are primarily attributed to the significant downtime experienced by healthcare companies over the past six to seven years, spanning from 2016 to 2023.

The comprehensive study conducted by Comparitech on the subject of ransomware sheds light on a concerning trend. During this period, there were over 539 officially reported ransomware incidents that affected a total of 9,860 hospitals and clinics, resulting in the compromise of records belonging to over 52 million patients. The figures presented are based on data provided to law enforcement agencies and forensic experts, underscoring the severity of the issue.

Examining the duration of downtime, experts noted that the disruption period ranged from a few days to several months. In 2016, the average downtime was approximately 14 days, but this figure steadily increased to 16 days in 2022 and 19 days in 2023. When these statistics are taken into consideration, the cumulative downtime across all affected companies is estimated to be a staggering 6,350 days or roughly 18 years.

Notably, the landscape of ransomware attacks has evolved in 2023. Hackers have adopted new tactics, including double and triple extortion techniques. What’s particularly alarming is the lack of leniency shown to victims who fail to meet hackers’ demands. In a recent incident, Denmark-based CloudNordic fell victim to ransomware criminals who wiped out nearly all their customer data because they refused to pay the demanded ransom of 6 Bitcoins (BTC).

Starting from August 2023, these cyber criminals have taken their malevolent strategies a step further. They are now persuading employees of targeted companies to surrender their login credentials, granting the hackers control over the entire network. This worrisome development underscores the need for enhanced cybersecurity measures and vigilance within the healthcare sector to combat the growing ransomware threat.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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