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Cybercrime continues to plague the healthcare industry given that most health care organizations are vulnerable and are ill-prepared for dealing with IT security threats. The medical sector and payment companies are now the unwieldy Antelopes of the Internet amongst packs of preying Hyenas eyeing them up. They don’t seem to understand that they are now the slowest movers in the digital herd and have never had to worry about wholesale fraud…....until now.

 

Traditionally an industry well known to be behind the technology and cyber security curve, cyber criminals know they will not encounter much resistance gaining access to medical records and thus able to lurk undetected for longer periods of time, milking such credentials.

 

It’s not your identity they want, or even your credit card number. Those numbers are hard to exploit for quick cash, as banks and credit card companies boost their security in the wake of being traditional targets. Medical data and personal information held by insurers and hospitals is a treasure trove of information holding much higher monetary value than any other types of information out there. On the black market, medical records command high prices on the underground market and can sell for 10 to 20 times higher than credit card – all in all low hanging fruit and a juicy target for cyber criminals.

 

Accenture projects that 25% of patients will be impacted by breaches on healthcare provider’s data between 2015 and 2019. This means that more than 6 million people will subsequently become victims of medical identity theft. 16% of impacted patients (more than 4 million people) will be victimized and pay out-of-pocket costs totalling almost $56 billion over the next five years.

 

No wonder some security experts declared that 2015 was the “year of the healthcare hack,” with studies showing that healthcare and pharmaceutical companies having the worst cybersecurity on record. But in 2015, healthcare hackers (and hostage-takers) were just getting warmed up, if the industry doesn’t make a concerted effort to step up their cyber security game, 2016 is going to end up seeing a lot more carnage and victims before the industry is ready and able to protect itself against cyber-based medical fraud.

A mass collaborative think-tank across industries must continue to foster conversation and meaningful dialogue to tackle this growing epidemic. Nothing but a holistic view on tackling this issue, will help to deter the Cyber-Crime underworld.
An offensive stance instead of just defensive tactics will help to thwart what is unfolding before our eyes (and behind closed doors).

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