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April 27, 2016

Cybersecurity & Health

View to an operating room through an office window

Alexei Cruglicov/iStock

Ransomware Hackers Are Coming for Your Health Records

Electronic health records at hospitals across the country have become attractive to cybercriminals looking for relatively easy and lucrative targets. These criminals use so-called "ransomware" to encrypt files and then hold them hostage in order to extract payouts for the return of the data.

They may be preying on hospitals because cyber protection measures likely have not kept pace with electronic data collection and because hospitals typically do not have backup systems and databases in place, even though such attacks can strain health care systems and potentially put patients' lives at risk.

More on Cybersecurity

Lessons from a Hacker: Cyber Concepts for Policymakers

Define Acceptable Cyberspace Behavior

With hospitals, insurance companies, and medical providers increasingly the target of cybercriminals, what do policymakers need to know about "cyber" to give them the tools to craft public policy solutions?

To learn more, watch "Lessons from a Hacker." This congressional briefing by Lillian Ablon is intended to give staffers from different backgrounds—including health—grounding in cyber concepts, because cyber is not limited to any one public policy domain.

In the briefing, Ablon discusses the basics of cyber and information security and provides insights into some of the complexities of cybersecurity policymaking. Topics include

  • the risk cycle, including threats, vulnerabilities, and impact
  • the risks posed by software vulnerabilities
  • the internet of things
  • how human weakness plays into a successful hack.

Watch the Full Briefing »

Watch the In Brief Video »

RAND Congressional Resources Staff

Jayme Fuglesten
Director, Office of Congressional Relations

Kerry Allen
Legislative Analyst

RAND Office of Congressional Relations
(703) 413-1100, ext. 5395


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