In 2021, 66% of healthcare organisations were hit by ransomware attacks and 34% were hit the previous year. This is a 94% increase in ransomware attacks on the organisations according to Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, in a new published sectoral survey report called “The State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2022.”
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The silver lining, however, is that healthcare organisations are getting better at dealing with the aftermath of ransomware attacks, according to the survey data. The report shows that 99% of those healthcare organisations hit by ransomware got at least some of their data back after cybercriminals encrypted it during the attacks.
Additional ransomware findings for the healthcare sector include:
- Healthcare organisations had the second-highest average ransomware recovery costs with $1.85 million, taking one week on average to recover from an attack
- 67% of healthcare organisations think cyberattacks are more complex, based on their experience of how cyberattacks changed over the last year; the healthcare sector had the highest percentage
- While healthcare organisations pay the ransom most often (61%), they’re paying the lowest average ransoms, $197,000, compared with the global average of $812,000 (across all sectors in the survey)
- Of those organisations that paid the ransom, only 2% got all their data back
- 61% of attacks resulted in encryption, 4% less than the global average (65%)
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Ransomware attacks on healthcare space more than other industries
“Ransomware in the healthcare space is more nuanced than other industries in terms of both protection and recovery,” said John Shier, senior security expert at Sophos.
“The data that healthcare organisations harness is extremely sensitive and valuable, which makes it very attractive to attackers. In addition, the need for efficient and widespread access to this type of data – so that healthcare professionals can provide proper care – means that typical two-factor authentication and zero trust defence tactics aren’t always feasible. This leaves healthcare organisations particularly vulnerable, and when hit, they may opt to pay a ransom to keep pertinent, often lifesaving, patient data accessible. Due to these unique factors, healthcare organisations need to expand their anti-ransomware defenses by combining security technology with human-led threat hunting to defend against today’s advanced cyberattackers.”
Insurance claims high due to ransomware attacks on healthcare organisations
More healthcare organisations (78%) are now opting for cyber insurance, but 93% of healthcare organisations with insurance coverage report finding it more difficult to get policy coverage in the last year.
With ransomware being the single largest driver of insurance claims, 51% reported the level of cybersecurity needed to qualify is higher, putting a strain on healthcare organisations with lower budgets and less technical resources available.
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Best practices for all organisations to prevent ransomware attacks
In the light of the survey findings, Sophos experts recommend the following best practices for all organisations across all sectors:
- Install and maintain high-quality defences across all points in the organisation’s environment. Review security controls regularly and make sure they continue to meet the organisation’s needs
- Harden the IT environment by searching for and closing key security gaps: unpatched devices, unprotected machines and open Remote Desktop Protocol ports. Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions are ideal for helping to close these gaps
- Make backups, and practise restoring from them so that the organisation can get back up and running as soon as possible, with minimum disruption
- Proactively hunt for threats to identify and stop adversaries before they can execute their attack – if the team lacks the time or skills to do this in house, outsource to a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) specialist
- Prepare for the worst. Know what to do if a cyber incident occurs and keep the plan updated
“The State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2022” report is available on Sophos.com.
The State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2022 survey polled 5,600 IT professionals, including 381 healthcare respondents, in mid-sized organisations (100-5,000 employees) across 31 countries.
The most active groups targeting companies, encrypting data, and demanding ransom.
The estimated global damage from ransomware attacks is 2020 is an estimated $20 billion 😱 These are the top 5 culprits.
- Learn more about the global prevalence and impact of ransomware across industries including healthcare, government and education amongst others in the State of Ransomware 2022
- Tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for different types of ransomware are available on SophosLabs Uncut, the home of Sophos’ latest threat intelligence
- Information on attacker behaviours, incident reports and advice for security operations professionals are available on Sophos News SecOps
- Learn more about Sophos’ Rapid Response service that contains, neutralises and investigates attacks 24/7
Sophos is a worldwide leader in next-generation cybersecurity, protecting more than 500,000 organisations and millions of consumers in more than 150 countries from today’s most advanced cyberthreats.
Powered by threat intelligence, AI and machine learning from SophosLabs and SophosAI, Sophos delivers a broad portfolio of advanced products and services to secure users, networks and endpoints against ransomware, malware, exploits, phishing and the wide range of other cyberattacks.
Sophos provides a single integrated cloud-based management console, Sophos Central – the centerpiece of an adaptive cybersecurity ecosystem that features a centralised data lake that leverages a rich set of open APIs available to customers, partners, developers, and other cybersecurity vendors.
Sophos sells its products and services through reseller partners and managed service providers (MSPs) worldwide. Sophos is headquartered in Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.
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