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Healthcare Firms Are 73% Likely To Pay Ransom In A Cyber Attack: Report

Arete, a cyber risk management company, focuses on the healthcare sector and explores the most prolific ransomware families, ransom demand and payment trends, and the most impactful controls and mitigation tactics

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Arete, a cyber risk management company in a report stated that healthcare organisations had a 73.7 per cent likelihood of paying a ransom and less than one in four healthcare firms has multi-factor authentication (MFA) in place, while just over half report performing regular backups.

The data for this research comes directly from over 1,500 ransomware events investigated by Arete, of which the healthcare sector accounted for 13 per cent.

The study also pointed out that having an endpoint detection and response (EDR) platform in place results in stronger protection and a reduced likelihood of paying a ransom.

The report also informed that just because a ransomware family exists one day does not mean that it will exist with the same name or operate under the same capacity the next day. While the study also revealed that data encryption is the top technique used for impact. 

"To mitigate the risk of data exfiltration, user training and data backups are two key controls to consider," the report added.

The report offers actionable takeaways for healthcare organizations as well as the cyber insurance professionals insuring these organizations. The data reveals the top ransomware variant impacting healthcare firms changes from year to year, but what has not changed is that phishing is the most common way threat actors gain initial access to these organisations. Having multiple controls in place allows an organization to leverage the most negotiating power and is also an efficient way for insurance brokers to evaluate potential risks.

“Healthcare organisations are often targets of ransomware because the presence of sensitive information, including PII and PHI, can increase the likelihood of ransom payment,” said Arete’s Chief Data Officer, Chris Martenson. 

“In this report, we highlighted insights to educate these organizations on ransomware trends and how to protect their data. In today’s digital-first world, it is pivotal for healthcare organizations to build cybersecurity teams in-house or collaborate with a third-party security partner to implement effective mitigation tactics and controls,” Martenson added.