Cyber Attacks Plague Health Care Organizations, Study Shows

Eighty-one percent of health care executives say their organizations have been compromised by at least one malware, botnet, or other cyber attack during the past two years, and only half feel they are adequately prepared to prevent attacks, according to the 2015 KPMG Health Care and Cybersecurity Survey

Furthermore, in polling 223 chief information officers, chief technology officers, chief security officers, and chief compliance officers at health care organizations and health plans, KPMG found the number of attacks increasing, with 13 percent saying they are targeted by external hack attempts about once a day and another 12 percent seeing about two or more attacks per week. More concerning, 16 percent of health care organizations said they cannot detect in real time if their systems are compromised.

When KPMG asked about readiness in the face of a cyber attack, 66 percent of health plan executives said they were prepared, while only 53 percent of providers said they were ready. Larger organizations, in terms of revenue, are better prepared than smaller ones, the survey shows.

Malware, software designed to disrupt or gain access to private computer systems, is the most frequently reported line of attack during the past 12 months to 24 months, according to 65 percent of survey respondents. Botnet attacks, where computers are hijacked to issue spam or attack other systems, and "internal" attack vectors, such as employees compromising security, were cited by 26 percent of respondents.

According to the KPMG survey, the areas with the greatest vulnerabilities within an organization include external attackers (65 percent), sharing data with third parties (48 percent), employee breaches (35 percent), wireless computing (35 percent), and inadequate firewalls (27 percent). 

John Southrey, manager of Consulting Services at Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT), says the company is "committed to protecting physicians in all areas of practice, and cyber crime is a critical concern. To combat this rising threat, TMLT includes comprehensive cyber liability coverage in all of our policies. We also offer customized services to help large groups, small offices, or individual physicians arm themselves against online threats."

Action, Oct. 1, 2015

Last Updated On

September 29, 2015

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