Congress is increasingly sounding the alarm over cyber threats targeting the health care sector. Several congressional lawmakers have stepped up their efforts to protect the industry amid a rise in cyberattacks by introducing policies and recommendations aimed at addressing and mitigating such threats.
Experts have said that the industry is a prime target for cyber criminals because some hospitals are willing to pay ransoms to save lives and recover stolen data. It can be a matter of life and death in certain situations, they said.
An August report from Kroll, an investigation and risk consulting firm, found a 90 percent increase in the number of attacks against health care organizations in the second quarter of this year compared to the first quarter.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is the latest of several lawmakers who have raised the alarm and taken steps to address the issue in recent months. In August, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services urging the agency to better protect the health care and public health sector from the growing number of cyber threats targeting the industry.
The recent report by the Senate Intelligence Committee proposed the establishment of a federal reinsurance program to help insurance companies cover some of the costs related to cyberattacks. This came after private insurance companies significantly increased premiums for companies seeking cyber coverage.
The Hill / Kagubare