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.Special InvestigationsTechnologyExcess & Surplus Lines
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.