A new report for secure-cloud computing specialists iomart, in partnership with Oxford Economics, has revealed that UK healthcare organisations are facing unprecedented numbers of cyber security threats, with risks higher than many other industries.
The report ‘The state of cyber security in the UK healthcare industry’ surveyed 500 UK-based cyber security strategy decisionmakers. Responses from the sector showed that it is at significantly higher risk than the average UK business, with more than half (51.4 per cent) reporting more than 40 cyber security incidents in the past year – the UK average was 24.
The threats causing the most concern were phishing (66.7 per cent), malware (59 per cent) and identity theft (38.5 per cent).
Sixty-nine per cent of the healthcare organisations polled said they noted an increase in premium prices for cyber insurance in the last two years.
Impact of the pandemic
Technological change continues to increase at a rapid pace, with the pandemic only adding to this. Thirty-one per cent of participants said the increased prevalence of remote working was moderately or significantly challenging. The advancing pace of technology (51 per cent) was also cited as an effect from the pandemic that has complicated organisations’ ability to protect themselves from threats.
Reece Donovan, iomart CEO, said: “The report shows a higher-than-expected number of breaches. It indicates that healthcare organisations are facing a greater volume of threats than ever before and are more at risk than almost any other industry.
“These threats are far more complex and difficult to defend against than we’ve ever seen before. This is largely due to opportunistic criminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities that have emerged as a result of new trends such as flexible working.”
He added: “It is clear the healthcare sector has become a key target for cyber criminals. The combination of its regulatory obligations, sensitive data and its central role in society, have no doubt highlighted the industry as a valuable opportunity for criminals.”