Latest healthcare cyberthreats reviewed in HHS bulletin

Jan. 26, 2023

The latest quarterly bulletin from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthcare Cybersecurity Coordination Center reviews cyberthreats to the healthcare sector in fourth-quarter 2022.

“Ransomware attacks, data breaches, and often both together, continued to be prevalent attacks against the health sector,” the bulletin notes. “Ransomware operators continued to evolve their techniques and weapons for increasing extortion pressure and maximizing their payday. Vulnerabilities in software and hardware platforms, some ubiquitous and some specific to healthcare, continued to keep the attack surface of healthcare organizations wide open. Managed service provider compromise continued to be a significant threat to the health sector, as did supply-chain compromise.” 

John Riggi, AHA’s national advisor for cybersecurity and risk, said, “As indicated in this summary bulletin, ransomware attacks against healthcare continue to be a top cyberthreat we face. Unfortunately, as we warned in December, ransomware attacks against hospitals did not subside over the holidays. Ransomware attacks now routinely combine data encryption, theft and extortion, along with encryption that disables critical care technology — disrupting healthcare delivery. Our cyber adversaries have also mapped our mission-critical service and technology providers and are actively targeting them with debilitating ransomware attacks, which may have the cascading effect of disrupting healthcare delivery.” 

Riggi added, “It is recommended that third-party risk management programs be evaluated to determine if risk assessments have been performed for all mission-critical service and technology providers, and that commensurate downtime procedures are in place should those mission-critical services go down due to a cyberattack.” 

AHA release