Healthcare ransomware attacks more than doubled since 2016

The annual number of ransomware attacks on healthcare delivery organizations has more than doubled since 2016, according to a Dec. 29 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Between January 2016 and December 2021, 374 reported ransomware attacks hit healthcare systems in the U.S., leaking the personal health information of 42 million patients. 

In 2016, the number of attacks sat at 43, but it climbed to 91 for the year in 2021. Of the ransomware attacks in this period, nearly half (166) disrupted patient care. Organizations face electronic system downtime, cancellations of scheduled care and ambulance diversions. 

The study also found that not only did these attacks become more common between 2016 and 2021, but they also became more sophisticated. 

The likelihood that an attack would affect multiple facilities simultaneously increased year over year, as did the likelihood that an attack would temporarily derail care. 

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