Held To Ransom – Healthcare sector is a sitting duck to cybercriminals. AIIMS & other hospitals must shore up security systems

Source: The post is based on the article “Held To Ransom – Healthcare sector is a sitting duck to cybercriminals. AIIMS & other hospitals must shore up security systems” published in The Times of India on 30th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Basics of cyber security.

Relevance: About cyberattacks on healthcare institutes.

News: The recent massive ransomware attack has crippled the e-hospital services of AIIMS, Delhi for the last seven days. This highlights the increasing vulnerability of the country’s healthcare infrastructure and other critical IT systems to cybercriminals.

What are the concerns associated with the recent ransomware attack?

There are fears that the attackers could sell the force-encrypted AIIMS databases that contain the personal information of patients – including political leaders, senior administrators and judges – and their healthcare records on the Dark Web.

About increasing cyberattacks on healthcare institutes

A massive increase in cyberattacks on healthcare institutes worldwide has been witnessed during the Covid pandemic.

According to research by CloudSEK, the first four months of this year saw cyberattacks on the healthcare industry increase by 95% compared to the same period last year.

In the US, the ransomware attack resulted in delaying chemotherapy treatments to diverting ambulances from a San Diego emergency room after computer systems were frozen.

Read more: Explained: What is cryptojacking, the cyber attack carried out by crypto miners?
About cyberattacks on Indian healthcare institutes

The Indian healthcare sector was the second-most targeted globally. The Indian hospitals are even more vulnerable than their American counterparts given their measly budget for cybersecurity.

The increasing digitisation of hospital operations and records make them more vulnerable.

What should be done to make Indian healthcare institutes cyber secure?

Follow ‘3-2-1 backup approach’: Healthcare entities must save three copies of each type of data in two different formats, including one offline. This is an industry best practice to make healthcare institutes cyber secure.

Read more: Cyber attacks on critical Infrastructure
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