MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Cyber-attacks on healthcare systems have grown at an "unprecedented" rate over the last year, according to security experts.
Healthcare data systems have long been a security concern, especially because personal medical records fetch a greater price on the internet’s black markets than credit card information. Hospitals and other healthcare systems have also been largely behind the curve in cybersecurity.
"We’ve seen a 600% increase in attacks on the healthcare sector in the last 10 months," Websense Security Labs senior manager Carl Leonard told TechNewsWorld.
Hospital hacks most recently got mass attention after Community Health Systems revealed that cyber-attackers had stolen around 4.5 million patient records, including social security numbers, birth dates, telephone numbers and addresses. The theft didn’t include credit card, medical or clinical information.
Ethical or "white hat" hackers have been trying to years to draw attention to healthcare security, including in internet-connected medical devices such as insulin pumps and drug infusion systems.
Medical device makers themselves have also been targeted in the past. Industry titan Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) revealed earlier this year that it was the target of an attack in 2013, although the company maintained that no patient records had been breached.
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