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Unintended Disclosures Led to 42% of Healthcare Breaches in 1H 2017

August 3, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Ransomware attacks across various sectors continued their rise in the first half of 2017, up by 50 percent over the first half of 2016, according to a report from Beazley, a cyber and data breach response insurance firm.

During the first half of 2017, Beazley Breach Response Services, Beazley’s in-house data breach team, managed 1,330 incidents on behalf of clients, compared to 955 incidents during the same period in 2016.

In the healthcare industry specifically, unintended disclosure—such as misdirected faxes and emails, or the improper release of discharge papers—continued to drive the majority of healthcare losses, leading to 42 percent of industry breaches in the first half of 2017, which is equal to the proportion of these breaches in the industry in the first half of last year.  Hacks and malware accounted for only 18 percent of healthcare data breaches in the first half of 2017, compared to 17 percent in the first half of last year.

Overall, hacking and malware attacks (of which ransomware attacks form a growing part), continue to be the leading cause of breaches, accounting for 32 percent of the 1,330 incidents that Beazley Breach Response Services helped clients handle in the first half of the year across multiple sectors.

However, accidental breaches caused by employee error or data breached while controlled by third-party suppliers continue to be a major problem, accounting for 30 percent of breaches overall, only slightly behind the level of hacking and malware attacks. 

Katherine Keefe, global head of BBR Services, said in a statement: “Unintended breaches account for one-third of all data breach incidents reported to Beazley and show no signs of abating. They are a persistent threat and expose organizations to greater risks of regulatory sanctions and financial penalties. Yet, they can be much more easily controlled and mitigated than external threats.  We urge organizations not to ignore this significant risk and to put more robust systems and procedures in place.”

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