Healthcare providers increasingly lucrative for pros’ ransomware attacks

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Ransomware attacks are continuing to proliferate, as hackers have become professionals and are operating as a business.

Hackers are no longer primarily acting alone, but in concert with each other and sharing the rewards, according to Jason Green, chief revenue officer at Trustifi, an email security vendor with products that include 256-bit military-grade email encryption, email tracking systems and automated electronic postmarking of emails. Hackers are now acting as a business and not just hacking for amusement.

“Phishing attacks have become an economy in its own right,” Green contends. “Providers have failed to know the value of data until patients become victims of identity theft, because providers failed to protect patients. It is cheap to encrypt data, but it is not done, even though providers don’t have to worry if they just encrypt.”

More than 90 percent of attacks by sophisticated cybercriminals start through email, Green notes.

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Provider and payer organizations that implement a secure email tracking system will be able to answer basic questions about their security levels, such as who opened a message, when did they open it, where was it read, was it downloaded, and what links were clicked.

“Think of the information people send over via email: address, bank information, health information, other documents and legal information,” he adds. “These sensitive pieces of data and information are exactly what hackers target. Emails should always be encrypted if there is any relevant personal or private information in the content.”

Providers and payers who do not sufficiently protect data will continue to be victimized and the attacks and ransom will only get bigger, Green warns. “You must stop paying ransom. If you don’t pay, you have a better chance of not getting hit again.”

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