Data Breaches in the Health Sector Doubles as More Patients Information Are Exposed on Dark Web


Apart from the arms sales and drug dealings on the dark web, another operation that has recorded a massive boom is the sales of compromised data. It has been reported that institutions, especially the health sector are one of the leading victims of data breaches. A report recently published states that the records of data breaches recorded in the second quarter of the year double the breaching incidents recorded in 2018. The higher number of data breaches recorded in the year was largely influenced by the recent attack on the American Medical Collection Agency. Over 21 million high sensitive records of patients were breached, which was 10 times higher than the previous month’s breaches. Some of these data found their way into the dark web marketplace being offered for sale.

The first half of the year saw a total of 32 million patients’ record breached. This is more than the recorded incidence in 2018 which was over 15 million. According to the report, 59% of the data breaches recorded in the first half of 2019 were hacking incidence, 21% were insider error, and 9% were related to theft, with the rest unknown.

Between January and June 2019, a total of 285 breaches were recorded. According to the report, hacking incidents accounted for 135 out of the total breaches. 27 incidents stemmed from ransomware and malware attacks and 88 of them were phishing attacks. It was also reported that at least one data breach is recorded a day since 2016. Most of the incidents are successful because it takes days, or months for an institution to notice any vulnerability in their systems after the incident.

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As claimed by the report, it takes average days of 214 for a company or institution to realize that a data breach has occurred. Some of these sensitive information even makes their way into the dark web before the company becomes aware. Most of the hackers also prefer ransom, so in this case, they alert the company soon after the incident.

Comparing the data breaches by states, California emerged as the state with the high number of data breaches, which are 26. This is followed by Texas with 22 breaches and Florida with 20 breaches.

By sectors, 72% of the breaches occurred in the provider settings with a total of 205. 32 breaches were recorded in the health sector, 26 in the business associates and 22 in the business sector.

The report further revealed that hospital insider errors contributed to 3 million patients’ records breached. It was stated that such breaches are very difficult to detect, and can go years without being discovered. This and many other breaches have caused an uptrend of the influx of personal information of patients and customers as well as sensitive data of companies on the dark web. Exposed data can put victims at risk of identity theft and phishing attacks. It has been advised that individuals and institutions must be very careful with the kind of links they click on, mostly targeted links sent into their emails.

Earlier this year, it was published that hackers had stolen a bunch of data and offered 127 million records for sale on the dark web. Before then, it was also reported that about 620 million accounts had been spotted for sale on the dark web. These were data stolen from eight companies. According to a previous publication, these data breaches are directly related to the surge in the price of Bitcoin. Hackers find this as an opportunity to demand Bitcoins that are staging a bull-run.

In as much as a data breach has increased in recent years, the cost associated with it has increased as well. It has been reported that the cost of the data breach has increased by 12% in the past 5 years. In last year, the cost was $3.86 million. It has increased to peg at $3.92 million.

Wendi Whitmore, the global lead for IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services stated that cybercrime is a big business to cybercriminals. However, it is a very big threat to businesses. He further stated that the perception that cybersecurity is in the hands of IT professionals need to be clarified, as anybody plays a role in leaving a loophole in a security system for cybercriminals to attack. In his explanation, he stated that most breaches are caused by individuals who fail to create stronger passwords, or giving passwords to others, or leaving passwords unprotected. These minor mistakes cost a lot and expose sensitive data to hackers who in return offer them for sale on the dark web marketplace.

Source: PR News  Wire

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