Ransomware and Healthcare Clinics: A Comprehensive Analysis of Current and Future Threats

Hey there, fellow healthcare practitioners and practice administrators! Today, we're going to dive into a critical topic that affects us all – ransomware attacks on healthcare clinics. We'll discuss the current state of ransomware in healthcare, what's happening right now, and what we can do to protect our clinics and patients. The primary resource for this blog post is the 2022 HIMSS Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey, so let's get started!

A Little Background on Ransomware in Healthcare

You may be wondering, what's the big deal about ransomware? Well, since at least 2018, healthcare organizations have been increasingly concerned about ransomware attacks. However, there's some good news! According to recent reports, ransomware attacks have actually decreased across industries since 2022. Phew! Only 12.58% of healthcare stakeholders reported experiencing a ransomware attack in the past year. But, it's essential to stay vigilant, as many active ransomware strains still pose a threat to our industry.

Why the Drop in Ransomware Attacks?

There are a few reasons for the decline in ransomware attacks. Law enforcement has been cracking down on cybercriminals, and new OFAC rules prohibit payment to sanctioned groups. Plus, the economic downturn of cryptocurrency and fewer victims paying ransoms have contributed to this drop. But don't let your guard down, as some healthcare organizations continue to be targeted.

What Ransomware Strains Should We Watch Out For?

Despite the decrease in ransomware attacks, there are still active strains impacting the healthcare sector, including BianLian, Blackcat & Royal, Cobalt Strike, LockBit 3.0, Karakurt, RansomHouse, and Zeppelin. It's essential to stay informed about these threats and take the necessary precautions to protect our clinics and patients.

The Future of Ransomware in Healthcare

Although we've seen a recent dip in ransomware activity, it's likely that cybercriminals will adapt and develop new tactics. They may even use social engineering and artificial intelligence to infiltrate healthcare organizations and other high-value targets. So, what does this mean for us as healthcare practitioners and practice administrators? We must be prepared and proactive in our approach to cybersecurity.

What Can We Do to Protect Our Clinics?

Based on the HIMSS survey findings, here are some proactive measures we can implement to improve our cybersecurity and protect our clinics from ransomware attacks:

  • Workforce: Provide regular, practical cybersecurity training for everyone on the team.
    Promote broader awareness of cybersecurity threats and best practices.
    Hire and retain qualified cybersecurity professionals to manage and maintain our clinic's security.
  • Technical: Implement passwordless multi-factor authentication for all systems.
    Establish robust incident response teams to handle potential cyber threats.
    Utilize digital forensics after incidents to learn and improve our security measures.
    Leverage third-party vendors' expertise to reduce organizational risk.
    Share information about threats and mitigations with peers.
    Focus on detecting insider threats.

BeCloud's Action Steps

To effectively combat ransomware attacks and protect their valuable data and systems, BeCloud prioritizes the following action steps:

  1. Develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that addresses current and emerging threats, including ransomware.
  2. Regularly update and patch all software and systems to minimize vulnerabilities that can be exploited by ransomware operators.
  3. Implement strong access controls and authentication protocols, such as multi-factor authentication, to restrict unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems.
  4. Continuously monitor network traffic and system activity for any signs of suspicious behavior that may indicate a ransomware attack or other cybersecurity threat.
  5. Establish an incident response plan that outlines the steps to take in the event of a ransomware attack or other security breach, including how to notify affected patients and comply with applicable data breach notification laws.
  6. Foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness among all staff members through ongoing training and education on the latest threats, best practices, and organizational policies related to cybersecurity.
  7. Collaborate with other healthcare organizations, industry partners, and government agencies to share threat intelligence, best practices, and other resources that can help strengthen collective cybersecurity efforts.

By implementing these action steps and leveraging the wealth of resources and expertise available within the healthcare cybersecurity community, healthcare organizations can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to ransomware attacks and other cyber threats. By doing so, they can better safeguard the sensitive data, critical systems, and ultimately the patients that they serve.

Helpful Resources to Stay Informed and Protect Our Clinics

There are many resources available to help us stay informed and better protect our clinics from ransomware and other cybersecurity threats. Here are a few to check out:


CISA BulletinsNational Cybersecurity Alliance
No More RansomHITRUST
Security TrailsHealth-ISAC
ID  RansomwareNICE Framework
Stop RansomwareBitdefender

In Conclusion

While the findings of the 2022 HIMSS Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey suggest that healthcare organizations have made significant progress in improving their healthcare cybersecurity programs, challenges still exist. These obstacles include security budgets, insufficient staff and training, and the growing volume of cyber-attacks and compromises.

But let's not forget – the biggest vulnerability is the human factor. As healthcare practitioners and practice administrators, it's crucial that we support our cybersecurity professionals and programs. By staying informed, adapting to new challenges, and implementing best practices, we can help protect our clinics and patients from ransomware attacks and other cybersecurity threats.

Remember, knowledge is power! Stay up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity trends and resources, and let's work together to create a safer healthcare environment for everyone.

So, there you have it, folks! We hope you found this blog post engaging and informative. Make sure to share it with your colleagues and fellow healthcare practitioners to spread awareness about the importance of ransomware protection in our industry. Stay safe, and let's continue working together to ensure the highest level of security for our healthcare clinics.

Special thanks to the 2022 HIMSS Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey for providing valuable insights and information for this blog post.

If you found this blog post helpful, don't forget to share it with your fellow healthcare practitioners and practice administrators. Let's work together to stay informed and create a safer healthcare environment for all!

James Phipps 7 May, 2023
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