By Eric Bednash
After a brief quiet period through the fall, the ransomware crisis is beginning to accelerate again in the aftermath of the Log4j security flaw that has left thousands of organizations and enterprises alarmingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The healthcare sector, in particular, is among the most at risk – as highlighted by the HHS Cybersecurity Program’s official alert
issued on Dec. 14:
“The exact extent to which Log4j is deployed throughout the health sector is unknown. It’s a common application, utilized by many enterprise and cloud applications including several large and well-known vendors. Therefore, it is highly likely that the health sector is impacted by this vulnerability, and possibly to a large-scale extent.”
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In layman’s terms, consider the addition of Log4j to healthcare’s threat landscape like the act of pouring gasoline on an already-blazing fire. Ransomware attacks on the sector have grown in volume and velocity over the last several years with steep financial ramifications. The global cost of data breaches
to healthcare organizations rose from $1.5 billion in 2018 to $13 billion in 2020, and followed a similar trend in 2021 with 80% of healthcare IT professionals
agreeing ransomware attacks continued to spike over the last 12 months. Whether it’s a national public health system
in Ireland, an in-patient cancer center
in Las Vegas or a small local hospital
in rural Wyoming, no healthcare entity is safe from ransomware’s reach regardless of its size or stature. That is our reality as we enter 2022.
The magnitude of the situation calls for more urgent action from healthcare executives and IT decision-makers alike. Protecting hospitals and health systems from the escalating prevalence of ransomware isn't just a cyber issue; It’s a matter of public health. And in order to make real, meaningful progress toward strengthening cybersecurity posture across healthcare, enhancing unstructured data security must be top of mind. It’s the only effective approach for safeguarding the high-value assets ransomware actors covet the most.