The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned that the US healthcare sector is vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks because of lax security measures, according to Reuters. The Bureau compared healthcare providers with stakeholders in other areas.
“The healthcare industry is not as resilient to cyber intrusions compared to the financial and retail sectors, therefore the possibility of increased cyber intrusions is likely,” the FBI said in a notice distributed to healthcare providers obtained exclusively by Reuters.
Hackers sell medical records and healthcare information on the black market. Health data is valuable to cyber-criminals because it contains details that can be used to access bank accounts or obtain prescriptions for controlled substances.
The 8 April notice urged healthcare providers to report suspicious or criminal activity to local FBI bureaus or the agency’s 24/7 Cyber Watch.
The notice didnâ€™t make any reference to the Obamacare new website that has been criticized for security flaws. At the beginning of the year, the cybersecurity chief for the US Health and Human Services Department, Kevin Charest, said Healthcare.gov was vulnerable to cyber-attack and risked the personal information of millions of Americans. The website, launched in October 2013, allegedly didnâ€™t pass rigorous security testing and had technical problems before the launch.
FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer declined comment on the private industry notification. In January the Bureau also sent a notification to retailers and warned them about future credit card breaches, following last yearâ€™s Target hacking attack.