Congressional committee warns of cyber security risks in healthcare sector – UPI News



Nov. 3 (UPI) — A report from the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday highlights how vulnerable the healthcare industry is to cyberattacks.

The report from the congressional committee estimates that 45 million people were affected by cyberattacks on the healthcare sector in 2021, a 32% increase over the year prior.

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Committee Chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said the industry has lagged behind in beefing up its cybersecurity efforts.

“Unfortunately, the health care sector is uniquely vulnerable to cyberattacks and the transition to better cybersecurity has been painfully slow and inadequate. The federal government and the health sector must find a balanced approach to meet the dire threats, as partners with shared responsibilities,” Warner said in a press release.

RELATED White House convenes international summit to thwart ransomware threats

Cyberattacks have become more frequent, and in many cases more severe, in several industries including consumer tech and finances. Cyberattacks against the healthcare sector could be a matter of life and death, the committee said.

While healthcare professionals keep their focus on patients, hackers could be an unseen threat to them.

“Cyberattacks can be detrimental to patient safety, as they can lock physicians out of treatment tools, shut down hospital equipment used for care, and create backlogs that delay appointments and treatment.”

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Warner said the federal government should take action to help the healthcare industry raise its cybersecurity standards through funding, resources and policy mandates. The mandates would likely change the future of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, taking the protection of patients’ sensitive information further.

The committee also recommends the government to institute a reinsurance program to help insurance companies recover costs incurred due to cyberattacks. Insurance companies are issuing increasingly large premiums on clients who enroll in cybersecurity coverage.

“Personal health information is more valuable on the black market than even credit card information, as hackers can sell stolen medical records for anywhere from $10 to $1,000 per record,” the report said.

RELATED Hackers target one of Australia’s largest health insurers in major breach of patient data

Nov. 3 (UPI) — A report from the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday highlights how vulnerable the healthcare industry is to cyberattacks.
The report from the congressional committee estimates that 45 million people were affected by cyberattacks on the healthcare sector in 2021, a 32% increase over the year prior.

Advertisement

Committee Chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said the industry has lagged behind in beefing up its cybersecurity efforts.
“Unfortunately, the health care sector is uniquely vulnerable to cyberattacks and the transition to better cybersecurity has been painfully slow and inadequate. The federal government and the health sector must find a balanced approach to meet the dire threats, as partners with shared responsibilities,” Warner said in a press release.

RELATED White House convenes international summit to thwart ransomware threats

Cyberattacks have become more frequent, and in many cases more severe, in several industries including consumer tech and finances. Cyberattacks against the healthcare sector could be a matter of life and death, the committee said.
While healthcare professionals keep their focus on patients, hackers could be an unseen threat to them.
“Cyberattacks can be detrimental to patient safety, as they can lock physicians out of treatment tools, shut down hospital equipment used for care, and create backlogs that delay appointments and treatment.”

Advertisement

Warner said the federal government should take action to help the healthcare industry raise its cybersecurity standards through funding, resources and policy mandates. The mandates would likely change the future of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, taking the protection of patients’ sensitive information further.
The committee also recommends the government to institute a reinsurance program to help insurance companies recover costs incurred due to cyberattacks. Insurance companies are issuing increasingly large premiums on clients who enroll in cybersecurity coverage.
“Personal health information is more valuable on the black market than even credit card information, as hackers can sell stolen medical records for anywhere from $10 to $1,000 per record,” the report said.

RELATED Hackers target one of Australia’s largest health insurers in major breach of patient data

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