Skip to site content

Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Drawing of a computer monitor displaying an eye looking through a keyhole. Every day, the Indian Health Service (IHS) handles critical health and identity data that criminals consider high-value. According to, so far in 2018, phishing and hacking have resulted in the compromise of millions of patients’ data. In one cyberattack at UnityPoint Health, criminals stole the medical information of 1.4 million people, along with the credit and debit card information of many of them, and cybercrime appears to be increasing every year. Breaches of security are costly to healthcare providers not only because of what they may lose to malicious actors, but also because of fines. In February 2018, the New York Attorney General fined the Arc of Erie County, NY $200,000 for violating HIPAA Rules by failing to secure the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of its clients, some of which was accessible to the public through search engines for a period of two and a half years, and which had been accessed by multiple individuals from outside the United States.

The US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health performed an analysis of 31 articles posted on healthcare databases identify cybersecurity-related trends like ransomware. As a part of the analysis, researchers queried academic literature to identify possible solutions. This analysis concluded that the healthcare industry is a prime target for medical information theft, as it lags behind other leading industries in securing vital data. It is imperative that time and funding is invested in maintaining and ensuring confidentiality of patient information and protecting healthcare technology and data from unauthorized access. (