Healthcare’s 2019 Top Cybersecurity Threats and What to Do About Them

The Doctor Weighs In
5 min readMay 20, 2019

By: Larry Whiteside

Although predictions of growing cybersecurity threats continue to raise alarms in the healthcare sector, there are clear, proactive steps organizations can take to protect themselves.

Photo Source: iStock Photos

Enormous amounts of patient information and financial data make the healthcare industry a prime target for cybersecurity threats. Hackers and other malicious organizations seek out everything from individual medical records, billing details, and log-in credentials to clinical trial and research information through systems, servers, or apps.

Today, patient portals, internet of things (IoT) devices, electronic health records, and other connected systems are in greater use than ever. They provide lucrative, often easy-to-access new channels through which to launch threats. Healthcare providers are the main victims.

Who is targeted and how much does it cost?

The 2019 Breach Barometer noted that healthcare providers accounted for 70% of all entities reporting cyberattacks. Health plans followed at 12% and other healthcare-related entities were next at 8%.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even business associates of HIPAA-covered groups were targeted, potentially as a means of back-door access to healthcare organizations’ data.

Exacerbating the problem is the cost of cleaning up after a cyberattack. Healthcare data breaches cost an average of $408 per record to resolve. This is nearly double the cost in the financial services sector that came in second at $206 per record. The lowest costs were in the public sector, which totaled just $75 per record.

The Top Healthcare Cybersecurity Threats in 2019

Below are the top cybersecurity trends to be aware of in 2019.

From 2017 to 2018, there was only a small annual increase in the number of healthcare data breaches. This is according to combined information from, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and state attorneys general.

This is good news, right? The answer is “wrong.” The number of healthcare records exposed in those data…

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