Report Shows Slight Decrease in Healthcare Data Breaches

F.J. Thomas

Sarasota, FL ( – In 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received a total of 791,790 complaints of internet crime totaling $4.1 billion in losses, and accounting for a 69 percent increase in complaints over the previous year. This year, from January through July IC3 has already logged 2,084 ransomware complaints resulting in $16.8 million in damages, and a 20 percent increase over the same time period during the previous year.

Just recently according to a Becker’s report, the cyber-criminal gang known as Vice Society hacked Barlow Respiratory Hospital located in California and leaked stolen patient information on to the dark web. The event occurred last month by taking advantage of security vulnerabilities in the Windows 10 PrintNightmare, which allows users with low privilege rights to access and install printers.

Vice Society made their debut in June by attacking several large hospitals and releasing patient information on the dark web, according to a report from ZDNet. However, Vice Society is only one of several cyber-criminals targeting healthcare currently. At the end of last month, the FBI issued an alert on Hive ransomware after the backup systems of 25 healthcare systems were hacked. It would seem that the cybercriminals are attacking healthcare in volume.

In the first quarter this year, the number of healthcare data breaches reported were more than double than the same time period the previous year, with a significant increase in March. In March of this year, a total of 66 breaches were reported in comparison to 19 the previous year.

The second quarter this year started out even stronger with a threefold increase reported in April. A total of 68 breaches were reported in April, compared to only 18 reported the previous year. Again in May, three times as many breaches were reported at 60 incidents, compared to 20 the previous year. While the number of reports increased for June, the same held true for last year as well. The highest number of incidents per month this year were reported in June at a total of 71 breaches, compared to a total of 29 breaches reported in June of 2020.

While the trend has been a significant increase in the total number of breaches reported, when compared to the previous year’s numbers, this quarter has actually shown a slight decrease than the previous quarters. In July, a total of 68 incidents were reported compared to 28 reported last year. For August of this year, a total of 38 incidents have been reported, compared to 21 reported last year.

Considering the lead time of anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to discover an investigate a data breach, it will be interesting to see if the downward trend will continue for the remainder of the year.

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