Data breach forecast for 2017: Cyber criminals to target healthcare

Cyber criminals will increasingly target the healthcare industry, Experian predicted in its fourth annual Data Breach Industry Forecast report.

Here are six things to know:

1. Hackers will target this sector as medical records are profitable and relatively easy for criminals to exploit.

2. Experian predicts that hackers will shift their focus from targeting health insurance companies to hospital networks. Hackers will focus on hospital networks as it is more difficult to maintain security measures, compared to "more centralized organizations," the reported noted.

3. Attackers will likely prioritize hacking EHRs as the information is portable and EHRs are often vulnerable to attacks. The report authors stated although EHRs may have protective measures in place, one compromised or outdated system can lead a network to exposure.

4. Healthcare will continue to face ransomware challenges in 2017 as ransomware allows hackers to "cash out" and cause a major disruption for organizations.

5. Report authors predict hackers will segue from locking systems to directly stealing information to sell or leverage for identity theft purposes.

6. Based on next year's forecast, the report authors encourage all healthcare organizations to ensure they have the necessary data security measures in place and have a plan of attack in case of a data breach.

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