Hacking Attacks On Hospitals For Patient Data Increase During Pandemic

 Wednesday, July 15, 2020

 USA Today

On the day before the July 4 holiday weekend, Mount Auburn Hospital’s information technology team identified some unusual activity. Alarmed, they quickly took steps to disconnect the Cambridge hospital’s computer system from the internet.

They switched to backup manual procedures instead of automatic ones. No patient data was compromised, and the Harvard-affiliated hospital continued its normal operations, according to hospital officials.

Such attempted attacks are a daily – if not hourly – occurrence at America’s hospitals. And they don’t always end as well as Mount Auburn’s did.

More than 80% of medical practices have been the victims of cyberattacks, according to a national survey. Over half reported patient safety concerns from the hacks, and 20% said that their business had been interrupted for more than five hours.

“That can be the difference between life and death,” said Wendi Whitmore, a cybersecurity expert and vice president of IBM X-Force, a commercial security research team.
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