According to a new report commissioned by the computer security company Censinet, nearly a quarter of health organizations that have been victims of a ransomware attack say that the death rate of patients has climbed within their establishment.
Yes, ransomware can kill. Or in any case, help there. This is what this new report, commissioned by the company specializing in computer security Censinet, seeks to prove. This study, dedicated to the different consequences of ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations, tends to show that these cyberattacks cause financial and logistical problems, but also represent a major risk to the health of patients.
“The impact of ransomware on patient care is significant enough to be undeniable ”, says Ed Gaudet, CEO and founder of Censinet. “We shouldn’t be afraid to look at this data, and continue to explore this topic ”, he adds.
Mortality rate up 22% in targeted hospitals
The study, conducted by a research institute called the Ponemon Institute, gathered responses from nearly 600 health organizations scattered across the United States, from regional healthcare systems, to hospitals and medical device manufacturers.
40% of organizations surveyed claim to have been victims of a ransomware attack in the past two years. Everyone agrees that these cyber attacks have disrupted the ability of institutions to properly care for their patients. More precisely, 70% of targeted establishments claim that ransomware has resulted in longer hospital stays, in particular by delaying examinations or operations.
In addition, 36% of them said medical procedures lead to more complications, while 22% indicate that the death rate has increased in their establishment as a result of the cyberattack. As stated by our colleagues from The Verge, we must however put these figures into perspective.
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Results to be “interpreted with caution”
Indeed, Ponenom Institute did not ask health organizations how they came to such conclusions, and especially how they measured the concrete impact of ransomware on the mortality of their patients. Without further details, “it is important to interpret the results with caution ”, underlines Ed Gaudet.
Even so, other studies have proven that ransomware has a negative impact on the efficiency of hospitals in treating their patients. CISA, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has shown that Vermont state hospitals affected by ransomware during the Covid-19 pandemic had a higher death rate than hospitals spared by these cyberattacks.
As a reminder, ransomware paralyzed 120 French hospitals in 2019, causing the postponement of hundreds of operations across the country. In the United States, the Biden government decided to take action against the perpetrators of the ransomware, now considering them to be terrorists. It must be said that the country is the regular target of large-scale cyber attacks, like the ransomware against Colonial Pipelines, one of the main American oil pipeline operators.
Source: The Verge