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Health Hacks on the Rise

by Precise Leads

February 14, 2019

Hackers don't target your personal computer, they target the servers of large health care providers.

Health insurance hacking has reached a zenith, according to researcher Dr. Thomas McCoy Jr., director of research at Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Quantitative Health in Boston. In 2017, the total number of security breaches was 344, up from 199 in 2010.

Not only is the quantity of health hacks up, but the severity is up as well. Hackers today go big game hunting, targeting health care servers to get large amounts of insurance data. Previously medical hacking targeted personal computers or physical media like film records and paper medical records--small potatoes compared to today’s breaches.

"A small number of breaches account for the majority of patient records breached," McCoy said. "The majority of the breaches are of health care providers, whereas the majority of the records breached are from health plans."

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Health providers have access to troves of health insurance information. In 2017, about 70 percent (110 million) of records breached targeted health care providers, compared with only 13 percent (37 million) of targeted health insurance companies, the study findings showed.

Some of the bigger hacks in recent years were Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in 2013 (10 million records) and Anthem Inc. in 2015 (80 million records).

What are hackers looking for? Hackers hunt for members’ Social Security numbers, names, birthdays, medical IDs. With a social security number, hackers can apply for credit cards and shop away. With health hacks on the rise, expect providers and insurers to ramp up their cybersecurity efforts in the coming years.

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