Congressional committee alerts of cyber security risks in healthcare sector

November 04, 2022 : A notice from the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday emphasizes how vulnerable the healthcare sector is to cyberattacks.

The report from the congressional committee assesses that 45 million people were impacted by cyberattacks on the healthcare sector in 2021, a 32% growth over the year prior.

Committee Chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., expressed the industry had languished in its cybersecurity measures.

“Unfortunately, the health care industry is uniquely vulnerable to cyberattacks and the shift to better cybersecurity has been painfully slow and inefficient. The federal government and the health sector must find a proportional approach to meet the dire threats, as partners with shared duties,” Warner stated in a press release.

Cyberattacks have evolved more frequent, and in many cases more severe, in several sectors, including consumer tech and finances. The committee expressed cyberattacks against the healthcare sector could be a concern of life and death.

While healthcare experts keep their focus on patients, hackers could be an unrecognized threat to them.

“Cyberattacks can be harmful to patient safety, as they can lock physicians out of treatment devices, shut down hospital equipment used for care, and produce backlogs that delay appointments and treatment.”

Warner told the federal government should take action to help the healthcare industry increase its cybersecurity standards through funding, aids, and policy mandates. The mandates would likely alter the future of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, taking the security of patients’ sensitive information additionally.

The committee also suggests the government institute a reinsurance program to assist insurance companies recover costs incurred due to cyberattacks. Insurance businesses are issuing increasingly large premiums on customers who enroll in cybersecurity scope.

“Personal health data is more valuable on the black market than even credit card information, as hackers can market stolen medical records for anywhere from $10 to $1,000 per record,” the report stated.