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article imageHealthcare reports highest number of data breaches: Study

By Tim Sandle     Mar 3, 2019 in Health
A new study finds that healthcare entities have reported the highest number of data breaches of any industry for figures relating to 2018, many of which are linked to ‘sextortion’. This is based on a review undertaken by Beazley Breach plc.
The Beazley Breach Insights Report finds that, at 41 percent, healthcare bodies recorded the highest number of data breaches across any sector of the economy. The causes were either direct hacking, the presence of malware, or due to human error internally (such as a weak password or falling for a phishing scam).
The general trend with healthcare, as with other sectors, was for hacking and malware incidents to be increasing and for unintended disclosures to be decreasing, which may signal improvements to internal practices and with business culture.
In terms of other sectors of the economy, education accounts for 10 percent of security issues; financial institutions represent 20 percent of incidents; and professional services represent 13 percent of cases, with other sectors making up the remainder.
With the types of security issues, there is a growing tendency for these to center on criminals attempting to extort cryptocurrency from companies or individuals. This often involves the cyber-attackers claiming to have embarrassing evidence of people using adult websites at work (what is sometimes referred to as ‘sextortion’).
Often these messages contain links to the alleged evidence of adult site visits. In fact these are invariably links to sites where malware is downloaded. Such malware can serve to take private information off the computer or to install ransomware.
The installation of ransomware like GandCrab will lock-down a computer until a ransom is paid. According to Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services, there was a step increase in these types of messages sent to work computers during the fourth quarter of 2018. The rise noted by BBR Services was an increase of 133 percent.
Many of the message look genuine, at least as if the criminals have information of a person, because they display old passwords connected to an email address. This type of information will often have been obtained from the dark web.
Commenting on this practice, Katherine Keefe from Beazley states: “As with all types of cyber-attacks employers need to treat seriously email compromise in its many forms. The sources of these emails should be scrutinized and organizations need to ensure employees are aware of practical measures to protect their data, such as via phishing training, and of ways to reduce the instances of email compromises escalating into a more serious cyber incident for organizations.”
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