REPOST: Why Health Care Is Especially Vulnerable to Ransomware Attacks

When computer savvy is used maliciously, it could spell chaos and data breaches. As with the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks, many organizations—including hospitals—had their systems taken advantage of by amateur hackers, jeopardizing patients’ records and putting the health care industry in major disarray. Read the article below by Sy Mukherjee of Fortune to know why medical systems are especially unprepared to deal with this new class of cyber-criminals:

 

The WannaCry attack has jolted our digital lives. Mark Schiefelbein—AP

 

The ongoing saga of the WannaCry ransomware attack which devastated the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) over the weekend and has already infected hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe reads like a Black Mirror episode set in our very times.

 

A cadre of amateur hackers took advantage of security flaws in widely-used Microsoft operating systems with a technique gleaned from none other than the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)—and consequently brought a nation’s health system to its knees while throwing patients’ lives into disarray.

 

It’s still too early to gauge the fallout from this digital delinquency. But the breach highlights a stark—and scary—reality about health IT: Outdated medical systems are woefully unprepared to deal with a new class of criminals willing to hold patients’ medical data, credit card numbers, and other personal information hostage barring a big payout. In fact, the FBI has issued several stark warnings about the unique and growing threat ransomware presents to health care companies specifically in the past few months.

 

Continue reading HERE.

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