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Healthcare network breaches

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Healthcare has long been regarded as particularly vulnerable to external cyber threats. The potential vulnerability of healthcare organisations can be twofold: not only can their databases offer a wealth of highly sensitive data for cybercriminals to misuse, they have also been seen as weak in terms of their cybersecurity defences. Healthcare network breaches could occur when attackers exploit vulnerabilities in systems, finding a route via which to access private medical information.

All healthcare organisations must, therefore, be on their guard when it comes to potential cybersecurity threats, but this is not always the case. When cybercriminals do break through, the data theft can have catastrophic consequences for the affected patients or employees, potentially causing them significant distress and even financial loss.

If you have been affected by a medical data breach, you will likely feel let down by your healthcare provider’s failure to prevent the attack. Where the organisation failed to do enough to protect your information, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Contact us for further information and to find out whether you could be eligible for a data breach claim.

Healthcare cybersecurity weaknesses

The potential vulnerability of healthcare cybersecurity in the UK was demonstrated on a huge scale in the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017, which brought dozens of trusts’ systems to a standstill. It is still one of the largest healthcare network breaches ever to affect the NHS and, although it was believed that data was not compromised, the incident presented a warning to the healthcare sector about what could happen if security weaknesses are not addressed.

Following the attack, there was further scrutiny of the NHS’s approach to cybersecurity. Severe cyber-skills shortages were noted by one 2018 report, although it has since been found that the skills gaps have been narrowed. However, this improvement does not seem to have had much effect on the volumes of breaches affecting the NHS, especially in recent years.

Spikes in cyberattacks during the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has arguably highlighted the continuing outside threats of healthcare network breaches. The NHS reportedly received a monumental 140,000 phishing emails in 2020, with NHS Digital later reporting that over a hundred of its inboxes had been compromised.

The threat of ransomware also appears to be more pronounced, with potentially hundreds of US hospitals being hit by a huge, coordinated attack towards the end of last year. While a large-scale attack like this has yet to hit the NHS since 2017, there is no guarantee that our health service is safe right now.

Claiming compensation for healthcare network breaches

With the threat of healthcare network breaches, it is important that patients are able to assert their rights in the event that their information is compromised. We have represented clients for a number of significant healthcare data security incidents over our years of data breach claims, with our high-profile actions including those against 56 Dean Street and Greater Manchester NHS.

To find out more about your potential No Win, No Fee compensation claim, contact our team of specialist data protection claim solicitors for free, no-obligation advice about your eligibility.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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