Infosec pros rank malware as their top concern

Also of concern in a new vendor survey are in-network incidents and increasing time to detection.
By Diana Manos
11:30 AM
infosec malware

The vast majority (91 percent) of cybersecurity experts are concerned about malware and ransomware, according to a new survey by Attivo Networks.

On top of that, cyberattackers are becoming more and more sophisticated, and are continually bypassing perimeter security.


Learn on-demand, earn credit, find products and solutions. Get Started >>

Attivo sells security technologies so the results should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, the findings align with other security research of late. The Center for Connected Medicine, for instance, found cybersecurity is a high priority in its 2019 Top of Mind survey.

Attivo, for its part, surveyed more than 450 cybersecurity professionals and executives from around the world and healthcare was the most represented industry.

Attivo said the concern about malware and ransomware is likely due to the healthcare industry being highly targeted in recent years by these types of attacks and the diverse environments healthcare has — which require protecting personal health information as well as pharmaceutical and medical devices.

The research also found:

  • 71 percent of the cybersecurity experts surveyed are worried about user networks
  • Nearly half of respondents said their average time for detection of an attack was plateauing or increasing


The cyber battle is now shifting inside the network, with 23 percent of respondents reporting they are now spending more on detection than prevention security controls.

Weaponized malware, hackers holding data hostage, social engineering and spearphishing campaigns are common today. Hospitals also have to safeguard against the next big threat to health data when there’s literally no way to know what it will look like or when it might come.

We reported Dec. 18 that healthcare employees in the U.S. and Canada not only admit their organizations have fallen victim to ransomware cybersecurity attacks, they also claim it wasn’t a one-time occurrence. The report, by Kaspersky, titled “Cyber Pulse: The State of Cybersecurity in Healthcare,” stems from a survey conducted by research firm Opinion Matters that included 1,758 healthcare employees in roles ranging from doctors and surgeons to administration and IT staff.

Cybersecurity expert and CEO of HSTpathways Tom Hui said the first action items for organizations looking to make their security stronger is to gather the facts: establish a baseline of what you are doing and what you are not. Then establish a list of issues and priorities.


“Overall, the survey highlighted that the battle to keep cyber attackers from successfully compromising networks is not working,” Attivo said.

Diana Manos is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness and technology. 

Twitter: @Diana_Manos
Email the writer: 

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication. 

Want to get more stories like this one? Get daily news updates from Healthcare IT News.
Your subscription has been saved.
Something went wrong. Please try again.