Hospitals Can Expect More Cyberattacks in 2017, Report Says

Attacks on critical infrastructure seen as ‘acts of war’

Hospitals can expect more-sophisticated data breaches in 2017 as health care remains the most-targeted sector among cyber criminals, according to the Fourth Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast from credit-reporting agency Experian. The report predicts that criminal interest will expand to other sectors, such as hospitals’ distributed networks, which are more difficult to secure than centralized systems.

Ransomware will also continue to evolve against health care organizations, the report warns, and new variants are likely to be able to evade detection by current systems used to stop attacks. Health care organizations must have contingency plans in place for dealing with these attacks, as well as provide security training for staff, the white paper stresses.

Stolen personal information can be sold over and over on the dark web, forcing breached organizations to continue dealing with the problem even years later. As a result, the report says, organizations are likely to implement two-factor authentication––sounding a death knell for the venerable password.

The white paper also predicts ongoing payment-based attacks, including new breaches through point-of-sale skimmers, because of the uneven implementation of chip-card technology.

Most alarmingly, the report foresees attacks on critical infrastructure as acts of war. It urges organizations across industries to work with their Information Sharing and Analysis Centers on emerging threats and to have contingency plans in place to deal with full-scale disruptions.

Sources: FierceHealthcare; November 29, 2016; and Experian Forecast; 2016.