Healthcare among the top 5 industries the most likely to be hit by ransomware

Business Insights

A recent report by NordLocker exposes the industries most likely to be targeted by ransomware gangs, healthcare taking the number four position

Healthcare is the number four industry hit by ransomware, according to the new research. An analysis of 1,200 companies hit by cyber extortion between 2020 and 2021 revealed those parts of the market where ransomware is the most widespread.

The research has discovered that, out of 35 identified industries, a great number of ransomware attacks were detected in the healthcare sector. The 64 companies affected range from the French leader in outsourced sterilization of reusable medical devices to a 25-bed critical access hospital providing diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative care. The findings raise the question: Why do cyber criminals prioritize this particular economic activity?

What makes the healthcare industry a lucrative target for ransomware gangs?

The healthcare business could be enticing to cyber racketeers because of the overwhelming amount of sensitive data they get to take hold of. Unlike in other sectors, the information stolen in attacks against healthcare cannot be changed upon the detection of the breach. “You can always change your leaked password or get a new credit card, but your DNA is for life,” says Oliver Noble, a cybersecurity expert at NordLocker, an encrypted cloud service provider. “Upon a successful ransomware attack against a hospital or clinic, hackers can get their hands not only on medical data but also on patients’ home addresses and Social Security numbers, which, if stolen, could end up in financial or identity theft scams.”

When ransomware immobilizes healthcare organizations, their employees are forced to work with the good old pen and paper. However, when medical staff can’t access critical medical data, the situation becomes a matter of life and death. Last year, the police in Germany launched an investigation after a woman died as a result of being transferred to another hospital following a ransomware attack.

“Even though to the private healthcare sector leaks of personal data might mean huge fines and legal repercussions for HIPAA violations due to negligence, many organizations within the industry tend to use outdated security software and continue to underinvest in cybersecurity,” the expert notes. “This provides hackers with a good chance of having their ransom demands fulfilled.”

How to protect your organization from ransomware

Although ransomware attacks are evolving, Oliver Noble provides some easy-to-implement cybersecurity tactics to serve your organization as defense:

  • Make sure your employees use strong and unique passwords to connect to your systems. Better yet, implement multi-factor authentication.

  • Secure your email by training your staff to identify signs of phishing, especially when an email contains attachments and links.

  • Implement and enforce periodic data backup and restoration processes. An encrypted cloud might be the most secure solution for this.

  • Adopt zero-trust network access, meaning that every access request to digital resources by a member of staff should be granted only after their identity has been appropriately verified.


NordLocker is the world’s first end-to-end file encryption tool with a private cloud. It was created by the cybersecurity experts behind NordVPN – one of the most advanced VPN service providers in the world. NordLocker is available for Windows and macOS, supports all file types, offers a fast and intuitive interface, and guarantees secure sync between devices. With NordLocker, files are protected from hacking, surveillance, and data collection. For more information: