Get Ready, Hackers are Targeting Healthcare Records

July 1, 2016

One could perpetually argue the idea that Healthcare is a racket and may end up costing the wrong people a fortune. Regardless, within the healthcare sector, there is an abundance of information at our disposal when it comes to our own medical history. Though, hackers are on the hunt for such information, which can contain details that may grant hackers a nice pay day in selling off that sensitive data to the highest bidder.

Cyberattacks are said to cost hospitals over $305 billion over the next five years, according to the consultancy Accenture. Moreover, Accenture has pointed out that one in 13 patients will have their data compromised by a hacking incident.

Identity theft has been a major issue all over the world. Hackers are hell-bent on sifting through personal data or records where someone's identity is hanging in balance. Over the past few years, identity theft cases have reached staggering levels. When it comes to healthcare data, it seems no one is as concerned as other data, such as your credit card details or online banking account login credentials. However, healthcare data appears to be where hackers are now focusing their efforts.

In 2009, according to a study by Brookings, information of over 155 million Americans was exposed without their permission through roughly 1,500 data breaches. In the healthcare sector, information is extremely vulnerable to privacy breaches as many of the records are now electronically stored but not securely.

Healthcare records contain highly sensitive data that could uncover enough information for hackers to steal identities and create new ones based off of a victimized hospital patient. Additionally, the type of data contained within healthcare records range from social security numbers, to birth dates, to home addresses. A hacker armed with enough of that information could do some serious damage and on a monumental scale if enough healthcare records are compromised.

There also lies another issue with the security of healthcare records, and that is the push for medical data to be shared with other entities or companies that may promise to help make healthcare better. Those other entities may be third party companies or vendors that don't have the proper security measures in place to safeguard shared healthcare data.

In all, it's not a matter of if healthcare data is attacked, but when. If companies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers take the proper safeguards to protect healthcare data, then it would be a significant deterrent for hackers. Though experts believe hackers won't stop attacking healthcare data and the future could look bleak when it comes to privacy that is diminished due to compromised healthcare data.

What we can all do as a collective is to make sure all information that we share or transmit to whoever is not shared or compromised. Keep your computer's software updated, use antivirus or antimalware software, and make sure you are sending the proper staff or healthcare providers your personal information. It never hurts to double check or ask if your information is safe, it could keep your identity from being stolen.

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