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Record Number of Major Health Data Breaches in 2021

Analysis: Federal Tally Shows Breaches Climbing Annually, Hacks Dominating

… “Breaches will increase as businesses continue to automate more. Data is the new currency in the cyber world,” says Tom Walsh, founder of privacy and security consultancy tw-Security.

… Hacking incidents in particular will continue to plague the healthcare sector, Walsh says. “Hackers have stepped up their efforts. With new tools available it’s even easier for someone with basic experience to launch a more sophisticated attack,” he says.

Walsh says hackers used to have to be technically skilled in operating systems and software to successfully launch an attack, but now software-as-a-service tools and tools using artificial intelligence are making it easier for novice hackers.

… Walsh says many organizations have become more diligent about addressing work-at-home risks.

“The home office environment may not be as secure as the work environment. However, it’s been my experience that, while in 2020 business hurriedly sent the majority of their workforce home, in 2021, efforts were made to later shore up the security defenses for those working from home.”

In the meantime, the surge in ransomware attacks has created the need for covered entities and business associates to change their defense strategies and recovery procedures, he says.

“The kinds of breaches caused by ransomware seem to have shifted from an inconvenience of the availability of data – encrypted data held ransom – to the exfiltration of data with threats of releasing the data on the dark web if the ransom wasn’t paid,” Walsh says, and adds that data exfiltration “requires a totally different response strategy.”


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