Ponemon study finds link between ransomware, increased mortality rate

Joseph B. Hash

A report introduced Wednesday by the Ponemon Institute identified that ransomware assaults in the time of COVID-19 have experienced an effect on affected individual basic safety, knowledge and general treatment availability.  

For the report, sponsored by the risk management system vendor Censinet, Ponemon surveyed virtually 600 IT and security pros in health care delivery companies.

“Our conclusions correlated growing cyberattacks, especially ransomware, with detrimental effects on affected individual treatment, exacerbated by the effect of COVID on health care suppliers,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, in a statement. 

“We also analyzed techniques that HDOs are having to safeguard affected individual basic safety, knowledge and treatment operations to figure out what is working considering that so several respondents have been victims of a lot more than a person ransomware attack,” Ponemon said.  

WHY IT Issues

The COVID-19 pandemic launched new troubles – which include distant function, staffing strains and scaled-up IT wants – into an currently fraught health care security landscape.  

And poor actors have taken advantage of that opportunity, as evidenced by recurrent headlines about ransomware assaults on health care delivery companies.

Ponemon’s new report implies these incidents can have significant repercussions for affected individual treatment.  

Over the last two years, 43% of respondents said their HDOs experienced a ransomware attack. Of these, 45% said they thought the attack resulted in a disruption of affected individual treatment operations.  

When questioned about that effect, seventy one% claimed a extended size of keep for individuals, 70% cited delays in processes and tests, 65% said there was an boost in affected individual transfers or facility diversions, 36% pointed to an boost in troubles from healthcare processes, and 22% said mortality fees increased.  

It is critical to note that this latter statistic makes up a reasonably compact share (four%) of total IT respondents.   

Even now, it reiterates the significance of shoring up security steps from a affected individual treatment perspective.

These security pros say 3rd-get together risk management is hard, and COVID-19 manufactured it a lot more challenging.

Only forty% of respondents said their organization often completes a risk assessment of 3rd get-togethers in advance of contracting with them.  

“Re-assessments are a further vital part of 3rd-get together risk management and are not conducted as frequently as needed,” mentioned report authors.

THE Bigger Craze  

Despite the fact that ransomware assaults can direct to disruptions in affected individual treatment – these as delays in processes or obstructions to treatment method – studies of incident-related mortality are relatively significantly less widespread.

They are not, nevertheless, exterior the realm of chance: This past calendar year, a German female died after Düsseldorf College Clinic’s servers were encrypted and she experienced to be moved to a different facility 20 miles absent.  

ON THE History  

“The mix of knowledge breaches, ransomware assaults, and COVID-19 has created the perfect cybersecurity storm and the worst two years on document for IT and security leaders in health care,” said Ed Gaudet, CEO and founder of Censinet, in a statement. 

“The Ponemon Investigate outcomes are an urgent wake-up contact for the health care marketplace to change its cybersecurity and 3rd-get together risk packages or jeopardize affected individual life.”

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT Information.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT Information is a HIMSS Media publication.

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