According to the Cyber Security Report 2023, globally, only the health sector registered 74% more cyberattacks in 2022 than in 2021, the highest increase in incidents of all industries. In total, 1,463 cases have been reported to hospitals, clinics and research facilities around the world, which will cost more than $65 billion by 2025, reflecting the increasing sophistication and frequency of attacks targeting these institutions.
These intrusions not only compromise the security of health services, such as confidential patient data or the supply chain, but also put the life and well-being of the population at risk, due to Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality and the internet of things used in the sector.
Speaking of the internet of medical things, the devices generated from this technology are capable of communicating via the internet to transfer information about patients; They can be pacemakers, home monitoring systems or blood glucose monitors, among others, providing important benefits such as providing information on the patient’s health status, personalized follow-up, correction and application of treatments.
However, if cybersecurity is not prioritized in the technological infrastructures of the health sector, the leak of confidential medical data puts the privacy of patients at severe risk, from personal information and medical history, to test results and treatments. Its exposure can easily lead to cases of identity theft, medical fraud and privacy violations, as has occurred in the IMSS and which, according to the institution, charges up to more than 100,000 pesos in disabilities and services rendered. , reporting around 326 similar cases in five years until 2022.
As if that were not enough, the devastation of cyberattacks escalates to direct levels in people, since they have the capacity to interrupt vital medical services, by blocking access to the computer systems of health centers, making care personnel not cannot consult the patient records, there is no accurate diagnosis or timely treatment and even, they do not have control of the operation of their work instruments. The consequences would lead to delays in the treatment of serious diseases or even worse situations.
But why is the healthcare sector such an attractive target for cyberattacks?