Ransomware Is a Real Threat to Our Healthcare System

Ransomware Is a Real Threat to Our Healthcare System

(RightWing.org) – When we think about healthcare problems, usually we’d name Obamacare or the cost of new drugs, but we might be missing a bigger issue – ransomware. Online criminals are threatening our health providers, and the risk is growing every year.

Ransomware is malicious software that hijacks a computer and encrypts all the files on it. The only way to get your data back is to pay the ransom demanded by the attackers – usually in an untraceable cyber currency like Bitcoin – and hope they give you the key to decrypt your files again.

Now cybercriminals are targeting healthcare systems for their demands. In November 2020, the University of Vermont health network was hit by a suspected ransomware attack that blocked access to patient records and meant hundreds of people missed appointments – including vital cancer treatments.

Healthcare systems are prime targets for ransomware for three reasons:

  • They’re big businesses with a lot of money.
  • The need to certify safety systems can take years, meaning software and hardware are often older and more vulnerable to attack.
  • The files on their servers are vital.

A ransomware attack in Germany has already caused at least one death. Unless we crack down hard on cybercriminals, our health is in real danger.

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