Cyberattacks On Hospitals Could Be Deadly For Heart Patients: Study

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A new study finds a link between the lack of cybersecurity measures at hospitals resulting in data breaches and an increase in the death rate of heart patients.

Written By Tech Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:
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Hospitals need to step up their cybersecurity approach and defend themselves against cyberattacks for the safety of their patients. A new study finds a direct link between the lack of cybersecurity measures at hospitals resulting in data breaches and ransomware incidents and an increase in the number of heart patients losing their lives.

A new research warns hospitals facing data breaches or ransomware attacks can expect a sudden spike in the number of heart patients dying as the result of cybersecurity threat remediation. The study was conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University‘s Owen Graduate School of Management.

Cyberattacks on hospitals may result in additional deaths

Researchers examined the number of data breaches at hospitals and the death rate of patients at over 3,000 Medicare-certified hospitals. Researchers discovered about 300 of those hospitals had experienced a data breach, which resulted in an additional 36 deaths per 10,000 heart attacks occurred annually.

As per the study, cyberattacks on hospitals result in 2.7 minutes (162 seconds) of delay in suspected heart attack patients receiving an electrocardiogram. Causing this delay is the remediation process.

"Breach remediation efforts were associated with deterioration in timeliness of care and patient outcomes," the authors found. "Remediation activity may introduce changes that delay, complicate or disrupt health IT and patient care processes."

"Those tasked with securing IT in the healthcare industry are walking a difficult line – they have to enable communications and information flows while keeping barriers in place to protect the multiple devices, networks and data streams from data breaches and cyber threats," said Kaspersky in one of its research.

"The digital healthcare environment has the added risk that comes with non-security trained medical staff accessing and sharing confidential and highly sensitive data. New security vulnerabilities are opening up all over the place and, if left unprotected, will be seized on by cyberattackers," Kaspersky added.

Last month, there was a report that 621 cyberattacks 2019 closed public schools and delayed surgeries as administrators sought to respond to the cyber threats.

The rate at which cyber-attacks are reading is at an all-time high. In 2020, these attacks and solutions to prevent those attacks are going to get even more sophisticated, researchers warn in the recent study.

READ | Stay alert and watch out for these risky cybersecurity threats in 2020

READ | Cybersecurity company sells private user data to scammers, apologises

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