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While hospitals and healthcare trusts have always been prime targets for cybercriminals, the reports of increasing healthcare cyberattacks suggest that the hackers are aiming their attacks at the sector with an alarming and greater frequency. The rising numbers of cyberattacks on healthcare organisations have also widely been associated with Covid-19, in line with the wider increase in cybercrime provoked by the pandemic.
In the face of such a significant cybersecurity threat, it is vital that healthcare organisations play their part to protect the personal information that is in their control. In fact, the law requires that all data controllers take steps to ensure that the personal information they process and hold is safeguarded through appropriate organisational and cybersecurity measures. As a result, where they fail to sufficiently protect information and consequently cause it to be compromised or exposed, they could be responsible for a data protection breach.
We understand how distressing healthcare data breaches can be for those affected, given how sensitive medical information is. Our leading, specialist data protection lawyers are here to advocate on your behalf to ensure you can claim compensation for any harm caused.
Recent news stories suggest that there are increasing healthcare cyberattacks on an international scale. Research in respect of US healthcare reportedly found that over 22.8 million patients had been affected by data breaches in 2020, with cyberattacks accounting for almost three-quarters of these data breaches. Meanwhile in Ireland, the Irish healthcare service was reportedly hit by a colossal ransomware attack in May, with the impact of this breach being felt long after the initial incident.
As for the UK, the NHS has similarly been targeted, with figures suggesting that our healthcare service had withstood hundreds of attacks between March and November last year during the first year of the pandemic, as well as reporting receiving over 20,000 malicious emails from March 2020 alone when it started. The evidence of increasing healthcare cyberattacks seems overwhelming, but the implications must also be carefully considered.
When cyberattacks hit the NHS, there can be a number of effects. First of all, cyberattacks can slow operations or even bring them to a standstill, particularly ransomware attacks, which are designed to take control of entire systems and render them inaccessible. Such delays can be devastating for a health service which is already under strain.
The increasing healthcare cyberattacks could also be putting personal information at risk. Where the NHS is failing to deploy appropriate defences, patient and employee data could become vulnerable to exposure, and those affected may be able to pursue compensation claims.
The sensitivity of medical records means that healthcare data breaches must not be ignored. If you have found out that your information security was compromised by a healthcare organisation, you could be entitled to claim compensation for any distress suffered or financial losses caused.
At Your Lawyers (t/a The Data Leak Lawyers), we can often offer No Win, No Fee representation to eligible claimants. To find out more, contact our expert team for free, no-obligation advice on your case.
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