Mar 11, 2024 - Health

Health care was biggest victim of U.S. ransomware attacks last year

Data: FBI Internet Crime Report 2023; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FBI Internet Crime Report 2023; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health care organizations last year reported the most ransomware attacks of the 16 industries identified as critical U.S. infrastructure, according to a new FBI report on internet crime.

By the numbers: The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, received more than 2,800 complaints identified as ransomware that caused adjusted losses of nearly $60 million in 2023.

  • That included 1,193 complaints from organizations that are part of what the FBI categorizes as belonging to "critical" infrastructure.
  • Health care and public health organizations made up the highest number of ransomware attacks in the U.S. with 249 reported last year, per the report.

Between the lines: Hackers view hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations as lucrative targets because operators tend to pay a ransom to keep critical services running. Hospital networks also contain a trove of personal patient information, Axios' Sam Sabin has reported.

  • A wave of attacks on health facilities late last year showed how patient care can be affected, through postponed procedures, diverted ambulance services and other disruptions.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released guidelines for providers to use to prioritize and beef up their defenses.
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