Melinda Taschetta-Millane, Editorial Director
Blog | Melinda Taschetta-Millane, Editorial Director | Information Technology| June 06, 2017

Healthcare's Growing Cybersecurity Threats

cyber crime cybersecurity

Healthcare is now the most cyber attacked industry. According to a white paper published by Healthcare IT News with information provided by Avaya Inc., 89 percent of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach involving the loss or theft of patient data, costing the industry $6.2 billion. According to the paper, the average cost of each hack was $2.2 million.  

The white paper outlines four cybersecurity trends shaping healthcare in 2017:

Trend 1: Healthcare will remain the No. 1 attacked industry. According to the paper, it is also one of the least prepared to deal with cybersecurity threats. In fact, 55 percent of healthcare organizations have a network security score of a C or lower. 

Trend 2: Ransomware attacks will grow. Ransomware became the dominant security issue of 2016 as hackers proved they can just hold your files hostage if they can not steal them, the paper states, adding that ransomware interrupts the ability of the organization to do business, and can even have a significantly greater financial impact than a simple data breach. Of all ransomware detections in the United States, 88 percent occurred at healthcare organizations.

Trend 3: The internet of things (IoT) will further strain security. The paper states that by 2020, more than 25 percent of identified attacks in enterprises will involve IoT. The healthcare IoT market is predicted to be worth $410 billion by 2022.

Trend 4: People continue to be the biggest liability. Security awareness and employee training among medical and administrative staff remains low, states the paper, emphasizing that employees are often the target of phishing and other social engineering attacks.

So what can the industry do to build up its defenses against hackers? The white paper suggests starting with a risk assessment. This will help identify what needs to be protected, justification for its funding and how you can make the most of your allotted budget. Next, it suggests partnering with a security expert. These experts have the resources and expertise needed to ensure building a strong cybersecurity strategy.

If you would like to download a complete copy of this white paper and accompanying infographics, please visit


More on Cybersecurity

Contributing editor Greg Freiherr also addresses this topic in-depth in the online blog series “Agents of Change,” as well as in several recent online features. You can view his series at

VIDEO: Cybersecurity in the Medical Imaging Department

Protecting Patients From Hackers

Balancing Needs In The Fight Against Cybercrime

HHS Unveils Improved Web Tool to Highlight Recent Health Information Breaches

Raising the Bar for Medical Device Cyber Security

Read other related healthcare cybersecurity stories at "The State of Healthcare Cyber Security."

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