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55 Healthcare Data Breaches Have Hit More Than 100 Million People in 2015

2015 wasn’t a great year for cybersecurity in the healthcare world.
Image: Phalinn Ooi/Flickr

In the last year, hackers have broken into at least 55 health care providers, stealing data from more than 110 million Americans, according to government data.

The majority of corporations in the world are well aware of the dangers of hackers and data breaches, which has helped make the cybersecurity industry a multi-billion dollar one. But medical device manufacturers, as well as health care providers, still fail to recognize they need to take the threat seriously despite being under "constant" attacks.


According to public data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, there have been 55 data breaches in the country so far this year. Those have hit 111,802,842 victims.

55 known US health Hacker/IT-breaches in 2015 Affected: 111 802 842 Src: Robin von PostDecember 11, 2015

The worst breach of all, is the one suffered by the insurance giant Anthem, which lost more than 78 million records earlier this year. Premera Blue Cross ranks at a distant second with 11 million victims.

The sheer amount of victims shows that the healthcare industry needs to step up its security game. But medical cybersecurity is increasingly not just about protecting records. Medical devices are vulnerable too, and there have been calls for better regulations, mandating security audits for devices such as pacemakers or insulin pumps. After all, if hackers break into these devices, the concern is not the loss of private data, but of life.

And in a future where all medical devices are connected to the internet, patients might have to worry about getting infected with different kinds of viruses, such as ransomware.

If the healthcare industry doesn't want to become the first one to have the dubious distinction of having a fatal victim, and doesn't want to keep losing private data, it better start taking security seriously. The numbers don't lie.