Saturday, April 13 2024

A new EU report sounds the alarm on cyber threats aimed at the health sector. The first-of-its-kind report was published last week by ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. It drew on 215 cyber incidents observed in EU member states, Norway, Switzerland, and the U.K. between January 2021 and March 2023. The data does not represent all actual cyber incidents, only those reported by countries.

The report highlighted the rise of ransomware as a major threat to the health sector, which made up 54% of all reported health sector cyber threats. Of the 116 incidents reported, at least 43% involved data theft or breaches. This spelled chaos for patients as services were disrupted. The report recounts an instance where a hospital needed to close its emergency department, reschedule chemotherapy treatments, and suspend surgeries because of a ransomware attack. Disruption of hospital services made up 22% of the impacts of the cyber incidents. Breach or theft of data and disruption of non-healthcare services topped that list at 43% and 25%, respectively. Concerningly, a mere 27% of health sector organizations have a dedicated ransomware defense program.

Indeed, ransomware incidents increased from 2021 to 2022, with the upward trend continuing into 2023. This is consistent with the wave of ransomware attacks impacting other sectors, as featured in a 2022 ENISA Threat Landscape Report. In contrast, total reported cyber incidents decreased slightly from 91 in 2021 to 85 in 2022. Q1 2023 has seen 40 incidents, a possible increase. This is mostly attributable to denial-of-service attacks targeting hospitals in the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden. These attacks were a result of pro-Russian “hacktivism,” and are relatively insignificant, though the trend is expected to continue.

France surpassed all other countries at 43 total reported incidents during the reporting period. Spain and Germany came at a distant second and third, respectively. Denmark reported the most incidents, 8, in Q1 2023. Hospitals were by far the most targeted out of all entities in the health sector, with 89 total reported incidents. Healthcare providers accounted for 53% of total reported incidents. 60% of threat actors involved were cybercriminals, and an overwhelming 83% of cyber incidents were motivated by financial gain. Alongside ransomware, data-related threats and intrusion were common among the nature of reported cyber threats.

Notably, the reporting period coincided with some of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the health sector became a prime target for cyberattacks. The report noted that the patient data of European citizens was leaked during this time, often because of inadequate security practices and misconfigurations. In some cases, the data was sold. The report stressed the importance mitigating these vulnerabilities, as patient data/electronic health records accounted for 30% of all impacted assets.

To bolster cybersecurity practices, the report instructed health organizations to expand training programs, regularly conduct risk assessments, and create cyber incident response plans, among other recommendations.

ENISA’s executive director, Juhan Lepassaar, promoted these recommendations in a press release and cited COVID-19 as an example. He said, “A high common level of cybersecurity for the healthcare sector in the EU is essential to ensure health organizations can operate in the safest way. The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic showed us how we critically depend on health systems. What I consider as a wake-up call confirmed we need to get a clearer view of the risks, the attack surface and the vulnerabilities specific to the sector.”

Previous

Cyber Deals: Rierino, Cyware, and Unit 21

Next

Vendict Raises $9.5M to Automate Vendor Security Assessment Process

Check Also

Widget

Don’t Miss

The words Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) on a green background with lines on the right side of the image

Best Endpoint Detection & Response Platforms

Lara Oporto

Endpoint Detection & Response platforms continuously monitor endpoints for signs of malicious activities, such as unauthorized access or unusual behavior, enabling rapid detection and response to potential cyber threats to safeguard organizational assets. What is Endpoint Detection and Response and how does it work? Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a cornerstone in modern cybersecurity […]

AT&T AlienVault Products Review: OSSIM vs USM

Ellie Buscemi

AlienVault is now the technological basis for AT&T AlienLabs and provides multiple products for different companies’ cybersecurity needs. What AT&T AlienVault Products are Available? In December 2021, CISOstack reported that AT&T intended to acquire AlienVault to expand its cybersecurity offerings to more businesses. Two years later, AlienVault-based offerings make up a large portion of AT&T’s […]

Photo by Simon Kadula on Unsplash.

Navigating Manufacturing IIoT Cybersecurity Challenges

John Powers

Guarding the Gears: Government policy and industry collaboration to mitigate cyberthreats to manufacturers. The smart factory is on the rise. Production lines equipped with advanced sensors can monitor equipment health in real-time and predict potential issues before they disrupt operations. Temperature and humidity sensors can ensure the optimal environment for delicate manufacturing processes. RFID-enabled asset […]

Best Microsegmentation Software

Ellie Buscemi

Microsegmentation allows a company to divide digital assets into smaller, more secure groups, which makes it harder for cybercriminals to take over a company’s data center. What is Microsegmentation? Microsegmentation refers to cyber professionals building layers of cybersecurity protection between groups of digital assets or individual cyber assets. Adding these layers inside instead of only […]

Best Breach and Attack Simulation Platforms

Ellie Buscemi

Breach and attack simulation (BAS) platforms allow companies to see weaknesses in their cyber infrastructures before a malicious hacker can exploit them. What Is BAS – Breach and Attack Simulation? Breach and attack simulation (BAS) is an approach to cybersecurity that uses advanced tools to imitate the attacks used by cybercriminals on companies’ digital infrastructure. […]

Ofer Ben-Noon and Ohad Bobrov

Palo Alto Networks to Acquire Talon

Ellie Buscemi

On Monday, Palo Alto Networks agreed to acquire Israeli startup Talon Cyber Security, an enterprise browser platform. The deal values Talon at between $600 to $700 million, according to The Information. Palo Alto will integrate Talon’s enterprise browser solution into its Prisma SASE product. The acquisition comes among a wave of acquisitions and releases involving […]