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Cybercriminals target health records, 1m compromised says expert

Medical records have been touted as increasingly targeted by cybercriminals, just as 100 million records have been lately compromised, reports ITRealms.

According to the Area Manager for East and West Africa at Check Point Software Technologies, Rick Rogers, at the recent Healthcare Innovation Summit (HIS), quoted the data from the United States (US) which showed that 89 per cent of healthcare institutions suffered a security breach and were twice more likely to be targeted than other organisations.

Underscoring the fact that prevention is better than cure, he noted that the healthcare industry, arguably is one of the most technologically advanced considering the gadgets and devices now used to monitor health statistics and perform medical procedures, is ironically among the most ‘unhealthy’ when it comes to network security.

Healthcare record theft, he said, increased a shocking 1100 per cent this year with more than 100 million records compromised worldwide, stressing that the biggest threat, according to KPMG, comes from external attackers at 65 per cent, while malware tops the list of information security concerns.

He pointed out that with technological abilities, there is multi-faceted hindering good information security comprising valuable data, ageing infrastructure, complex networks, no budget and easy targets, coupled with lack of understanding and awareness.

On valuable data, he said, comprises data collected and stored by hospitals and other organisations, such as medical aid schemes, is up to 10 times more valuable to cybercriminals than credit card information.

Roger noted that due to the sheer volume of information gathered about individuals and the fact that people see an increased shift to digital medical records, which makes it easy to commit fraud and identity theft. He stressed that given the value of this data on the black market, cyber-attacks are becoming ever more sophisticated in their attempts to hack healthcare institutions, to name a few.

Nenye Dom/GEE
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