Most people are aware that businesses and other organizations of all sizes have been the victims of ransomware attacks in recent years. These attacks are carried out by cybercriminals who paralyze these organizations’ systems until they pay the ransom demanded. Many of the targeted organizations provide critical infrastructure. Therefore, it’s understandable that the majority of them pay the ransom in order to protect those they serve.
Among these organizations are health care providers, or health care delivery organizations (HDOs). For an HDO infected by ransomware, the effects aren’t just a matter of financial losses for them and inconvenience for their customers. They can endanger lives. Researchers have found that they do in fact cause deaths.
The internet of medical things
A ransomware attack can take down monitoring equipment, interfere with HDOs’ ability to communicate with one another about the transfer of patients and much more. “The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)” may sound like the title of a book (and it was). However, it refers to “an amalgamation of medical devices and applications that can connect to health care information technology systems using networking technologies.”
It’s growing every year. Besides hospital monitoring devices and other equipment, consumer wearable devices that allow doctors to monitor patients remotely are also part of the IoMT.
Cybersecurity is crucial for HDOs
It’s extremely vulnerable to hackers. That’s why it’s crucial for hospitals and other HDOs to put the necessary money and resources into cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which is part of the federal government provides resources to HDOs to help them protect against cyberattacks. The agency reminds everyone that “Cyber safety is patient safety.”
Fatal outcomes due to ransomware attacks have already prompted malpractice lawsuits against HDOs that are ultimately responsible for their patients’ health and safety. There will no doubt be more to come. If a ransomware attack resulted in harm or death to a loved one, it’s worthwhile to explore your legal options.