Cybercrime in the medical landscape

Technology has revolutionized the world for medical clinics and individual physicians alike, and during the past 20 years in particular, there have been monumental shifts in human behavior directly linked to technological advancements. However, while the technology revolution has brought unparalleled levels of convenience and choice for patients, it has done the same for the criminal underworld. It is now far easier and more lucrative for criminals to ply their trade digitally rather than physically. 

Today, most criminal cyber events tend to cause financial losses to medical clinics, as opposed to those they deal with, such as vendors and patients. These events fall into three broad categories: theft of funds from online bank accounts, theft of data, and damage to digital assets such as appointment booking systems and electronic medical records.

Medical clinics have an incredibly high dependency on technological systems, and criminals know this. By either damaging or threatening to damage a clinic’s systems, attackers know they can extort money from their victims, who might prefer to pay a ransom rather than see their patients’ private information compromised or their business negatively impacted. And even after paying up, victims are often left with unusable systems that are costly to fix. Extortion in the form of ransomware is one of the fastest growing forms of cybercrime.

The costliest part of a cybercrime event is often the response to the incident. For example, if an attack compromises a clinic’s computer network, IT specialists are needed to quickly counter or stop the attack, protect against further immediate threats, and identify what has been stolen. There are then further financial costs associated with limiting reputational damage, notifying patients whose data has been stolen and offering them identity theft protection solutions if necessary, and implementing longer-term protections to guard against future cybercrime events. 

Doctors of BC’s commercial insurance partner, Westland Group Insurance, offers cyber insurance to help physicians recover quickly from cyberattacks. Contact Westland Group Insurance at for more information or quotes on their cyber insurance options.
—Julie Kwan
Business Development Manager, Insurance


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Julie Kwan, BBA, CFP, CLU, GBA. Cybercrime in the medical landscape. BCMJ, Vol. 65, No. 5, June, 2023, Page(s) - News.

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