Cyberattacks on Healthcare Industry Skyrocketed in 2020 – 45% Increase Reported

March 09, 2021 | 3 minutes read

“The world is now fighting against two types of viruses – COVID-19 and computer viruses” -Global Threat Intelligence Center. 

According to the March 2021 NTT GTIC Monthly Threat Report by Mihoko Matsubara, Chief Security Strategist at NTT, a 45% increase was recorded in attacks between October 2020 and January 2021.

The health sector has had a hard time dealing with cyberattack since the dawn of digitization. However, the intensity and frequency of these attacks has increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic last year.

Taking advantage of the pandemic, cybercriminals have also started targeting any part of the healthcare sector that is involved in the research and shipping of the Covid vaccine.

In November 2020, Americold, the largest cold storage operator in United States, involved in the shipping of the vaccine, had to bring its business operation to a screeching halt due to falling victim to a ransomware attack.

One of the main reasons the healthcare industry is suffering great losses due to Cyberattacks is because the healthcare system throughout the world is traditionally underfunded, which makes it an easy target.

According to Check point, the increase in attacks on global healthcare organizations last year was, in fact, double the increase in cyberattacks on all other industries

Ransomware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), remote code execution attacks and bonets have been listed as the most common attack vectors since the pandemic began.

According to Matsubara, “Our 2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report found that the healthcare industry scored only 1.12 in terms of cybersecurity maturity level while the financial industry showed a maturity of 1.86 points. Furthermore, the pandemic has made it challenging for healthcare institutions to continue to invest in cybersecurity due to the increasing safety budgets for patients and medical staff.” 

Fending off cyberattacks on healthcare industry can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. The only way to deal with the growing threats is to implement powerful cybersecurity software and follow best practices for data protection.

 In ‘Zero’ we trust 

Other than this, Danika Blessman, Senior Threat Intelligence Analyst, Global Threat Intelligence Center also highlighted the importance of Zero trust. 

According to the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), “Zero trust (ZT) is ‘the term for an evolving set of cybersecurity paradigms that move defenses from static, network-based perimeters to focus on users, assets and resources.’ Essentially, a security concept based on the thought that organizations should not automatically trust anything – outside or inside its perimeters – but should instead verify everything. Verification should take place even if a previously trusted resource or device connects to the network.” 

Though the basic elements of Zero Trust approach are already being implemented inside most organizations, the main goal is to bring together all of these security measures to create a more powerful solution. 

Blessman further said: “Integrating a Z framework will go a long way in removing some of the guesswork in protecting your organization’s network and infrastructure and allow for resiliency in network defense – a better way to address unprecedented and unanticipated threats to your network.” 

Download the full report from here: NTT Business Insights