Ponemon Institute polled 597 IT and IT security professionals to learn how COVID-19 has influenced how healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) defend patient care and patient data from increasingly virulent assaults, particularly ransomware.

This study demonstrates for the first time that ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations can have life-or-death repercussions. Almost one in every four healthcare professionals reported an increase in the death rate as a result of ransomware.

COVID-19 introduced new risk factors

With the advent of COVID-19 came new risk factors for HDOs, including remote work, new technologies to support it, staffing issues, and increased patient care requirements. The study aims to assist CIOs, CISOs, and healthcare risk executives in determining the extent to which HDOs are being attacked and the impact of those attacks.

“Our findings linked rising cyberattacks, particularly ransomware, to poor consequences on patient care, which were worsened by the impact of COVID on healthcare providers,” stated Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute.

Also read,

“We also examined the efforts that HDOs are taking to secure patient safety, data, and care operations to establish what is effective, given that so many respondents have been victims of several ransomware attacks.”

Impact of ransomware
  • An increase in the mortality rate
  • Medical procedures are causing more consequences.
  • Procedures and tests were delayed, resulting in poor results.
  • Increase in the number of patients transferred or diverted to other facilities
  • Increased lengths of stay

“The perfect cybersecurity storm of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and COVID-19 has created the worst two years on record for IT and security executives in healthcare,” said Ed Gaudet, CEO of Censinet.

“The Ponemon Research findings are an urgent wake-up call for the healthcare industry to overhaul its cybersecurity and third-party risk programs or risk putting patient lives in jeopardy.”