Cyberattackers eying small providers as easy victims

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 01, 2021
Cyber Security Health IT

A recent report by credit rating agency Fitch Ratings said that cyberattacks can easily take a hit on a provider’s financial state, according to Healthcare Dive. For instance, the cost for recovering a patient record rose 16% from 2019 to 2020. An attack on Scripps Health in San Diego back in May played a large role in a $113 million loss it incurred for the quarter. The hackers got into Scripps Network in late April and deployed malware to exfiltrate copies of data. In response, the healthcare organization shut down its patient portals, email servers and other healthcare-related technology applications for most of May, as well as implemented emergency downtime procedures and switched to offline charts.

It now is facing a lawsuit from patients whose information was compromised. “That medical histories were accessed in this data hack makes this situation unique. Despite hundreds of data breaches every year in this country, most do not involve such highly sensitive patient information as was obtained here,” said Scott Cole, the principal attorney on the case.

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Attacks can even occur from inside a healthcare facility. A man in Georgia, for instance, who worked as chief operations officer for a network security company was charged earlier this summer with launching an attack on Gwinnett Medical Center, which had hired him to provide cybersecurity protection. He was brought up on 17 counts of intentional damage to a protected computer.

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