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Healthcare industry ‘most targeted’ by hackers in India last year

healthcare industry cyberattacks

The healthcare industry had the most number of cyberattacks in 2022 in India. The report comes just weeks after the servers of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were targeted in a ransomware attack. The world has seen 38 per cent more cyberattacks as compared to 2021, according to a Check Point Research (CPR) report.

CPR found that last year, cybercriminals focused on exploiting collaboration tools used in work-from-home environments and targeted education institutions that shifted to online learning post-Covid-19. It also notes that these cyberattacks were driven by smaller, more agile hackers and ransomware gangs.

Data Group Manager at Check Point Software, Omer Dembinsky explains, “hackers like to target hospitals because they perceive them as short on cyber security resources with smaller hospitals particularly vulnerable, as they are underfunded and understaffed to handle a sophisticated cyberattack.”

“The healthcare sector is so lucrative to hackers as they aim to retrieve health insurance information, medical records numbers, and sometimes, even social security numbers with direct threats from ransomware gangs to patients, demanding payment under threats of having patient records released,” he added.

Other than healthcare, the education sector and government bodies faced the most cyberattacks in 2022. If we talk about the global volume, in Q4, 1168 weekly attacks per organization were recorded, which is an all-time high record.

In November, Delhi’s AIIMS reported a massive cyberattack on its servers. Following this, the public medical institute faced outages that severely affected digital patient care services including billing, appointments, and laboratory report generation. AIIMS has announced to go completely paperless from January 2023 and the complete digitalization of all hospital services from April 2023.

The CPR report also added that AI technologies like ChatGPT can be misused by hackers to generate malicious code and emails at a faster, more automated pace. In a previous note, a team of researchers from Check Point Research illustrated how hackers may use the ChatGPT AI chatbot for writing malicious codes and phishing emails.