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Insights Insights
| 1 minute read

Data Breaches in Healthcare Exposed Record Amounts of Data in 2023

Healthcare organizations continue to be an attractive target for hackers and other threat actors, as shown by stats from 2023 related to healthcare data breaches.  Events in 2023 involved large volumes of data; emphasis on malware, ransomware, and phishing as attack vectors; and exploitation of vendors and suppliers (business associates, in healthcare parlance) to get access to patient data.

Why It Matters

All of us as patients and consumers have a vested interest in making sure that health records and the systems that support delivery of healthcare remain secure. If records are accessed, patient privacy is at risk; if healthcare IT systems are paralyzed, patient care is at risk. Moreover, the healthcare industry presents a target-rich environment: reams of the most sensitive data, including extensive financial information, which has significant market value.  

The study covered in the linked report (and many others besides) indicates an ongoing need to train personnel on security hygiene (recognizing phishing, for instance). It also points up the need to vet suppliers to ensure that their security (technological, behavioral, and otherwise) is up to standard.  These are principles that are equally valid no matter what industry you're in: upgrade your technology to safeguard data, train employees to play their part, and use a combination of screening/audit and contract-enforcement mechanisms to bring vendors up to par.   

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Breaches stemming from hacking and IT incidents, which include malware, ransomware and phishing attacks, have soared over the past decade, making up 80% of reported breaches last year. Meanwhile, physical thefts of records have declined as organizations shift to electronic health record systems. The number of business associates, or outside people or organizations that perform work for entities covered by HIPAA like health plans or providers, are increasingly involved in data breaches, too. Business associate breaches increased by 22% year over year in 2023, according to the report.

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insights, data security and privacy, health care, hill_mitzi