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Rising healthcare cyberattacks

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On top of the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare organisations across the globe have also had to contend with rising healthcare cyberattacks since the outbreak began. Cybercriminals, perceiving that attention was diverted to managing the virus, have perhaps seen the pandemic as an opportunity to target hospitals and healthcare organisations under strain. The need for strong cybersecurity in the NHS has, therefore, never been more urgent.

Unfortunately, the NHS has not been known for good cybersecurity and data protection measures in the past, having suffered a number of severe cyberattacks and data breaches in recent years. One of the most infamous incidents was the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017, where the NHS was said to be more susceptible to this attack due to a failure to follow cybersecurity recommendations.

Even within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no excuse for poor data protection by healthcare organisations, and the government must step in where funding is an issue. It is vital that action is taken to tackle the short-term threat, as well as planning for the future of cyberattacks.

Rising healthcare cyberattacks – how is the sector being affected?

The rising healthcare cyberattacks have come in a variety of forms, but among the most prominent threats is ransomware. Having grown in occurrence more widely, ransomware attacks have also been concentrated in the healthcare sector a lot more in recent times, and we have seen some huge spikes in recent years.

Ransomware attacks are typically used to extort money from organisations by threatening to expose stolen and/or captured data, and this can be incredibly costly for the affected organisations.

In addition, less sophisticated forms of cyberattacks have also been hitting healthcare organisations with increasing frequency. The NHS was hit with a monumental wave of phishing emails, with almost 140,000 arriving in the organisation’s inboxes over the course of 2020 according to Healthcare Global. It later emerged that some 100 inboxes were understood to have been compromised.

Why are healthcare organisations targeted?

Why are healthcare organisations falling victim to rising healthcare cyberattacks? The phenomenon has not just been caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare organisations have always been the target of cybercriminals because of the sensitivity of the information that they hold.

Medical records contain some of the most private information about us, and it is of high value to those who would seek to misuse it, particularly for monetary gain. Manipulative cybercriminals may believe that organisations and individual victims are likely to pay higher ransoms to keep their medical information safe when compared with other personal information.

Making a compensation claim for a medical data breach

With rising healthcare cyberattacks threatening hospitals and practices across the world, some patients may find themselves personally affected by medical data exposure. Moreover, there have always been incidents of poor data protection and user errors within the NHS, and this can harm real people when information is exposed.

Whether the data breach incident involved a ransomware attack or a breach of confidentiality, NHS healthcare compensation claims can be made to ensure that justice is done for the victims. Compensation pay-outs can be valued according to the severity of the data exposure, which is why sensitive medical data breaches often bring high awards for claimants.

To find out more about making a claim, you can contact our expert team today for free, no-obligation advice.

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

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