Healthcare organizations bear the brunt of cyberattacks amid pandemic
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations bore the brunt of cyberattacks last year, all the while struggling to cope with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a new report this week from Check Point Software, attacks on healthcare entities worldwide jumped 45% in the past two months as attackers tried to take advantage of the pandemic by disrupting operations and extorting ransoms from organizations under tremendous pressure to provide uninterrupted services.
The increase in attacks was, in fact, double the increase in cyberattacks on all other industries, Check Point says. On average, healthcare organizations experienced 626 attacks per week in November, compared with 430 attacks on average in the previous months. The most common attack vectors were ransomware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), botnets, and remote code execution attacks.
Health organizations in Central Europe were hit particularly hard, Check Point’s data shows. Attacks there increased 145% in November and December, followed by attacks on organizations in East Asia (137% increase), Latin America (112% increase), and Europe (67% increase). Attacks on North American healthcare organizations increased by 37%. At a country-specific level, Canada topped the list with a 200% increase in cyberattacks against hospitals and other healthcare entities.
Check Point’s latest statistics pertain to attacks the company detected and blocked specifically on networks belonging to its healthcare customers. But the trend is consistent with the alarming number of cyberattacks others have reported in recent months against the healthcare industry.
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