The very technology that streamlines healthcare – online appointment booking, prescription refills, and virtual consultations – has opened a dangerous backdoor for cybercriminals. Hospitals are experiencing a surge in hacking attempts, jeopardizing patient data and potentially even their safety.

Experts warn this alarming trend shows no signs of slowing down. “These cyberattacks on hospitals, both domestically and abroad, underscore the urgent need to bolster cybersecurity across the healthcare system,” stresses Steven McKeon, a cybersecurity specialist and founder of MacguyverTech.

The FBI’s 2023 report paints a grim picture, revealing healthcare as the most targeted sector in the US by ransomware attackers. This surpasses even critical infrastructure like transportation and energy.

These intricate attacks, analysts explain, aim to cripple hospital computer systems by locking them down and stealing vital data. Hackers then exploit this situation through extortion, demanding hefty ransoms to restore access.

Why is healthcare such a vulnerable target? Aging technology is a major culprit. “Our company is increasingly called upon to fix outdated systems, some over a decade old,” says McKeon. “This is alarming. With a third of Americans already affected by healthcare data breaches, modernizing these systems and implementing stronger cybersecurity measures are essential to safeguard patient information and ensure continuity of care.”

McKeon emphasizes the need for a multi-pronged approach. Increased federal funding is crucial to support upgrades, along with stricter enforcement of cybersecurity practices. Collaboration between healthcare providers and government agencies is vital to combat these threats and secure systems for the long term.

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