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DNS attacks cost healthcare £626,000 each time



DNS attacks in healthcare now cost an average of £626,000 – up 12 per cent year-on-year and the sharpest rise seen in any industry. 

Healthcare was one of the main targets of attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new Threat Report shows how it remains more vulnerable than other industries in the event of a breach. 

The report, from EfficientIP and International Data Corporation (IDC), revealed that healthcare is the most likely industry to suffer application downtime, with 53 per cent of companies reporting that. 

Healthcare also saw the highest rate of compromised websites at 44 per cent and the highest rate of brand damage at 31 per cent. 

During a time when the healthcare industry is already experiencing other stressors related to the pandemic, downtimes in apps and services or cloud accessibility could have significant consequences for both patients and providers.

Other negative effects include cloud service downtime (46 per cent), loss of business (34 per cent), and stolen customer information (23 per cent).

“We all knew that the healthcare industry would be a prime target for cyberattacks during the pandemic,” says Ronan David, VP of strategy for EfficientIP. 

“But it really is fascinating – and useful – to see the data in black and white. Fascinating because we finally have a clear quantitative picture, and useful because we see where companies like EfficientIP can help healthcare companies improve their defences.”

Healthcare suffered an average of 6.71 DNS attacks over a 12-month period, and it took an average 6.28 hours to mitigate each attack, which is higher than the all-industry average of 5.62 hours.

The most common DNS attack type in healthcare, like many other industries, is phishing; 49 per cent of the healthcare companies surveyed experienced a phishing attack, which matches the average for all industries. 

DNS-based malware is also popular in healthcare at 36 per cent, as is DNS tunnelling at 29 per cent and DNS domain hijacking at 28 per cent. 

Compared to the all-industry average, healthcare saw relatively low rates of things like DDoS attacks (the all-industry average was 29 per cent while the healthcare average was 19 per cent). The consequences of attacks on healthcare infrastructure can be extreme, directly affecting patient care and well-being.

In order to protect themselves, healthcare companies have turned both to Zero Trust and to smarter DNS security. The Threat Report shows that the healthcare industry is planning, implementing or running Zero Trust initiatives more than other industries (79 per cent, compared to an all-industry average of 75 per cent), and is the strongest believer that DNS domain deny-and-allow lists are valuable for Zero Trust (82 per cent, compared to 79 per cent).

Like many industries, healthcare sees DNS security as critical for protecting a remote workforce – 54 per cent of healthcare companies surveyed agreed with that statement, the report found.

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