Published: September 23rd, 2015

By now it’s no secret that the healthcare vertical is a high-value target for hackers, but by just how much?

A new report from security vendor Websense Labs puts concrete figures on these trends, suggesting that healthcare sees 340 per cent more security incidents than the average industry leading to 200 per cent more encounters with data theft.

The problem, according to Websense, is that security in the vertical has not caught up with the proliferation of technology, allowing for more attacks to occur.

“The rapid digitization of the healthcare industry, when combined with the value of the data at hand, has led to a massive increase in the number of targeted attacks against the sector,” said Carl Leonard, principal security analyst at Websense in a statement. “While the finance and retail sectors have long honed their cyber defenses, our research illustrates that healthcare organizations must quickly advance their security posture to meet the challenges.”

Within a 10-month period in 2014 alone, Websense claimed it saw attacks on hospitals grow six-fold.

The 2015 Healthcare Drill-Down Report also indicates that medical information has ten times the value on the black market. Healthcare is also four times more likely to encounter advanced malware with one in 600 attacks involving sophisticated viruses.

Other attempts at breaches that healthcare is more likely to be susceptible to include phishing at 74 per cent increased risk, Cryptowall (which takes a machine hostage by maliciously encrypting a victim’s data) at 4.5 times higher likelihood, and Dyre (formerly relegated to stealing financial industry data and is spread through spam attachments) at three times higher likelihood.