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    Wednesday, July 3, 2024

    Hacked Healthcare: KnowBe4 Sheds Light on Critical State of Cybersecurity in Industry

    The report highlights a concerning global increase in cyberattacks targeting the healthcare industry, emphasizing the critical need to prioritize cybersecurity measures.

    Anna Collard

    KnowBe4, a leading provider of security awareness training and simulated phishing platforms, has published its International Healthcare Report. This report delves into the critical cybersecurity challenges faced by the healthcare industry, specifically hospital groups, on a global scale.

    Africa had the highest average number of weekly cyberattacks per organization globally in 2023. One out of every 19 organizations on the continent experienced an attempted attack each week. Although South Africa's healthcare sector has avoided a significant attack since 2020, the concerning increase in attacks in other sectors within the country indicates that it is only a matter of time before the next attack occurs, making it a question of "when" rather than "if".

    Hospitals have become increasingly vulnerable to ransomware attacks due to their extensive patient databases, sensitive information, and interconnected systems. Inadequate security measures have exacerbated this vulnerability, allowing cybercriminals to potentially gain control of entire hospital systems and access patients' health, financial, and insurance data.

    Hospitals are severely impacted by cyberattacks (https://apo-opa.co/4csCXH4), which can lead to a reduction in patient care, loss of access to electronic systems, and a reliance on incomplete paper records. This can also result in the cancellation of surgeries, tests, appointments, and, in some cases, even loss of life. 

    Some shocking facts discussed in the report include:

    • In the first three quarters of 2023, the global healthcare sector experienced a staggering 1,613 cyberattacks per week, nearly four times the global average, and a significant increase from the same period the previous year.
    • The healthcare sector has seen a dramatic surge in cyberattack costs over the past three years, with the average cost of a breach reaching nearly $11 million, more than three times the global average. This makes healthcare the costliest sector for cyberattacks.
    • Ransomware attacks have been the most prevalent type of cyberattack on healthcare organisations, accounting for over 70% of successful attacks in the past two years.
    • The majority of cyberattacks (between 79% and 91%), across sectors, begin with phishing or social engineering tactics, which allow cybercriminals to gain access to accounts or servers.
    • According to KnowBe4’s 2024 Phishing by Industry Benchmarking Report (https://apo-opa.co/4csuiEB), healthcare and pharmaceutical organisations are among the most vulnerable to phishing attacks, with employees in large organisations in the sector having a 51.4% likelihood of falling victim to a phishing email. This means that cybercriminals have a better than 50/50 chance of successfully phishing an employee in the sector.

    “The healthcare sector remains a prime target for cybercriminals looking to capitalise on the life-or-death situations hospitals face,” says Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4. “With patient data and critical systems held hostage, many hospitals feel like they are left with no choice but to pay exorbitant ransoms. This vicious cycle can be broken by prioritising comprehensive security awareness training to empower employees and cultivate a positive security culture as a strong defence against phishing and social engineering attacks."

    The report delves into the current state of cybersecurity within the healthcare industry across various regions, including North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America. Furthermore, it sheds light on some of the most notable global ransomware attacks that transpired between December 2023 and May 2024, analyzing their aftermath and providing valuable insights for healthcare organizations to bolster their defenses against cyber threats.

    To download a copy of KnowBe4’s International Healthcare Report, click here (https://apo-opa.co/3xIjjaY).

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