"Health care facilities increasingly are coming under cyberattack. This trend has raised concerns about the vulnerability of electronic health information, which often includes multiple personal identifiers. These can be used by hackers to create false identities for illegal purposes such as creating fraudulent insurance claims. But health care cybersecurity involves more than just safeguarding patient data from identity theft. Hackers are now using ransomware to attack hospitals and other health care facilities in an effort to extort money by disrupting their operations. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that prevents victims from accessing their data-typically by encrypting the data using a key known only to the hacker-unless a ransom is paid in cryptocurrency (bitcoins). By denying a health care facility access to its data, ransomware attacks may put patients' lives at risk."
CRS Insight, IN10714
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html