Most consumers would leave a healthcare provider that was struck by ransomware

A post-WannaCry survey shows that U.S. consumers are not very forgiving when it comes to organizations not able to protect their medical information.
By Bill Siwicki
12:20 PM
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Most consumers would leave a healthcare provider that was struck by ransomware

About 68 percent of U.S. consumers would consider leaving their healthcare provider if it was negatively impacted by ransomware, according to a survey of 5,000 U.S. consumers conducted by end-point security vendor Carbon Black. The survey was conducted, Carbon Black said, to gauge the public’s perception of ransomware and expectations they place on organizations to keep their data safe following the recent WannaCry ransomware outbreak.

Approximately 7 out of 10 consumers in the survey trust their financial institutions and healthcare providers to keep data safe; only 52 percent trust retailers.

[Also: Wannacry timeline: How it happened and the industry response to ransomware attack]

But the majority of consumers place the onus of responsibility on the individual businesses to keep their data safe, ranking them ahead of cybersecurity companies/cybersecurity software vendors, software providers (such as Microsoft, Apple and Google), and government organizations (like the FBI, NSA and CIA), the survey said.

“The fact that nearly 70 percent of consumers said they would consider leaving their current healthcare provider is a startling statistic,” said Mike Viscuso, Carbon Black’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “Consumers put a high level of trust in their healthcare providers to keep their financial information and healthcare records safe. When that data is compromised it erodes confidence and trust. Generally speaking, healthcare organizations have relied on antiquated systems and security processes. It’s clear attackers are aware of these vulnerabilities and have taken advantage.”

When it comes to cybersecurity in healthcare, in some instances it’s truly life and death, Viscuso said.

[Also: WannaCry and now EternalBlue threats prove cybersecurity review is a must]

“The recent WannaCry attacks thankfully only scratched the surface for how cyberattacks can have real-world consequences and affect lives,” he said. “Healthcare providers should take the WannaCry attacks as a clarion call to invest in their security people, processes and technologies and keep patients’ data security as seriously as their health.”

About 57 percent of consumers said the WannaCry ransomware attack was their first exposure to how ransomware works, even though ransomware has been around for many years, the survey reported. 52 percent of consumers said they would pay a ransom if their personal computer/data was taken hostage by ransomware, but only 12 percent said they would pay $500 or more, the survey found.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com


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