Health care organizations were 114 times more likely to hit by ransomware infections than financial firms, and 21 times more likely than educational institutions, according to a new research report by Solutionary.
The Omaha-based security firm detects millions of attacks a year, according to threat intelligence analyst Terrance DeJesus. But while health care accounts for just 7.4 percent of the company’s client base, it saw 88 percent of all ransomware attacks during the first half of this year.
“These numbers do not count all of the email delivery or exploit kit activity that happens pre-infection and would be attempts to deliver ransomware,” he said. “These are confirmed ransomware outbreaks on directly affected systems.”
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The overall numbers of successful attacks also increased, he said, by 198 percent from the beginning of February to the end of May. He attributed the increase to a combination of better detection and more attacks.
The health care industry is a particularly attractive target for cybercriminals, said Jon-Louis Heimerl, manager of the company’s threat intelligence communication team.
Some ransomware attacks are random, designed to hit as many people as possible, he said.