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SA’s Healthcare Organizations Become the Latest Prey for Cybercriminals

COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for cybercriminals to target South Africa’s healthcare organizations and hospitals. Cyberattacks can lead to disruption in the country’s healthcare system in these already enough tough times. Their capability to give health care can be affected by these cyberattacks.

The healthcare industry across the industry is already under a lot of stress due to the pandemic and now they also have to fight cyberattacks.

South Africa’s several hospitals, as well as health care services, got targeted by ransomware attacks by criminals. Around 66 hospitals of the Life Healthcare Hospital chain have been targeted by hackers. Healthcare officials say that these attacks have been a significant hindrance in their healthcare operations and these incidents regarding the security have impacted the admission systems, business processing, and email servers.

Hospitals have been forced to use manual processing systems which have further delayed the administrative duties. This has been an added worry for the healthcare facilities as the whole world is in a state of medical emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cyberattacks in healthcare organizations are not just limited to South Africa, this is a global concern. A report suggests that there has been a 45% increase in cyberattacks in the healthcare industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

South African IT expert, Anna Collard, “Globally the healthcare industry was one of the areas most affected by cybercrime last year, and South Africa experiences similar cybersecurity trends. What makes things worse for us is that South Africa’s healthcare institutions are among the most vulnerable possibly due to a lack of local cybersecurity skills, low levels of awareness, and underfunding.

Cybercriminals are in urgency to steal large amounts of money, and the healthcare industry is in urgency to provide medical services and criminals are taking advantage of it. Data breach and identity theft are some of the biggest problems these cyberattacks have led healthcare organizations to face.