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Experts discuss why hospitals are seeing more cyberattacks

WASHINGTON D.C. — The healthcare industry is seeing a surge in cyber attacks and it’s an issue that affects you at your most vulnerable moment.

Now, members of Congress want more done to keep hospitals safe and your information from ending up in the wrong hands.

Channel 2′s Blair Miller was in Washington where he learned more about the new threats.

Miller said most of the attacks were ransomware. Industry experts believe hospitals are likely to pay the ransom quickly so that lives aren’t at risk.

“The reality is, most small businesses have these very, very easy vulnerabilities present,” said Bill Seigle from Coverware.

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According to data we found from an investigation and risk consulting firm, healthcare organizations have seen a 90% jump in cyber attacks compared to earlier this year.

We got a letter that members of congress sent to The Department of Health and Human Services calling for the agency to do more to fill the security gaps.

Tom Leary with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society said they like that they’re constantly asking the right questions.

Leary works with the federal and state agencies on healthcare and technology. He told Miller why the health sector is such a solid target.

“They have to be mindful of the fact that bad actors want the data and that the data is very profitable,” said Leary.

In June, the FBI uncovered a potential cyberattack against Boston Children’s Hospital before it could happen.

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Hiring people to do that work in hospitals is just as big of a problem.

There’s a labor shortage of cyber experts across the board.

Matt Hartman with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said it’s a challenge in all of their organizations.

“This is a challenge in the federal government, it’s a challenge in state and local governments. And it’s a challenge in the private sector,” said Hartman.

Lawmakers are also calling for an “urgent meeting” with administration officials.

They want to know what’s being done to help protect hospitals.

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