Last year, healthcare systems and hospitals all around were facing a battle on two fronts: the well-known raging pandemic that engulfed the entire world in fear; and the lesser-known yet just as relentless battle – cyberattacks.

According to a latest study, cyber breaches in healthcare increased by 55.2 percent last year. The increase in attacks prompted the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and the US Department of Health and Human Services to send out a warning in late October that according to ‘credible information’, cyber-attackers were specifically targeting health care providers and public health agencies.

The increase in attacks on this industry corelates with devices and machines at hospitals getting more interconnected. Things such as MRIs, and thermostats talking wit each other and the network while giving attackers virtual backdoors and a surface to exploit which seemed to be ever-increasing.

With the increase in attacks, we can also see an increase in interest in the space. New York based healthcare cybersecurity company ‘Cylera’ finished up raising big fund for expanding its scope and capabilities. Whereas, last month, Palo Alto-based Armis Security – an industry leader in IoT security raised $125 million at a $2 billion valuation. Observing these and many other such investments, it is clear that investor interest for cybersecurity in healthcare and hospitals has grown in the last year or so.

Of late, the industry has seen several massive attacks. In 2015, Anthem – the healthcare provider – disclosed that hackers had potentially stolen more than 37.5 million records after breaching its servers. Two years later, WannaCry (the ransomware) happened, which infected the U.K.’s national health system and adversely affected 80 facilities even when health systems were not the prime targets.

Attacks are not just focused on personal records and hospitals. While ransomware has been the weapon of choice against the health care systems and hospitals, other important data, research and other valuable IP also have been targets.

What Next?

While companies like Medigate, CyberMDX, Cylera and Armis battle larger players like Palo Alto Networks in the market, the question of the likeliest outcome for many of these players remains. Owing to the massive investor interest in this space, there is no doubt that there could be multiple players bagging the roles of net-guardians for the global healthcare and hospitals networks.

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