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Survey: 81% of healthcare organizations compromised by cyber-attacks in past 2 years

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Survey: 81% of healthcare organizations compromised by cyber-attacks in past 2 years

Only half of providers say they're adequately prepared for a cyber-attack.

Eighty-one percent of health care executives say that their organizations have been compromised by at least one malware, botnet, or other cyber-attack during the past two years, and only half feel that they are adequately prepared in preventing attacks, according to a recent survey by professional services firm KPMG.

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

 "The vulnerability of patient data at the nation's health plans and approximately 5,000 hospitals is on the rise and health care executives are struggling to safeguard patient records," said Michael Ebert, leader in KPMG's Healthcare & Life Sciences Cyber Practice. "Patient records are far more valuable than credit card information for people who plan to commit fraud, since the personal information cannot be easily changed. A key goal for execs is to advance their institutions' protection to create hurdles for hackers."

Greg Bell, who leads KPMG's Cyber Practice, feels also that many organizations not seeing frequent cyber-attacks may underestimate the threat.  "Healthcare organizations that can effectively track the number of attempts have less cause for worry than those who may not detect all of the threats against their systems," said Bell.  "The experienced hackers that penetrate a vulnerable health care organization like to remain undetected as long as they can before extracting a great deal of content, similar to a blood-sucking insect."

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