This is going to get worse before it gets better. Despite hacks on Anthem and dozens of other insurance and medical providers, one in three U.S. healthcare customers will have their health records breached in 2016, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation, or IDC.
Weak cybersecurity and an increase in the number of electronic patient records will create the perfect storm for hackers, who have increasingly prioritized health records over credit cards and other financial information. Health records often include credit and Social Security numbers, along with detailed personal medical histories which can help a thief receive free health coverage, or obtain medications that can later be re-sold.
Fraudulent billing already represents between 3 percent and 10 percent of lost revenue in healthcare, Lynne Dunbrack, vice president for IDC's Health Insights group, told Computer World Tuesday.
“Frankly, healthcare data is really valuable from a cyber criminal standpoint,” she said. “It could be five, ten or even 50 times more valuable than other forms of data.”
A single health record often demands $10 on the digital black market, or $9 more than access to a victim's credit card. From there, hackers can re-sell a bundle of health records or use the information contained on them for identity theft.
Healthcare fraud costs vary widely, from $74 billion annually to $247 billion, according to the FBI, and that doesn't include the financial burden for customers who need to invest in credit insurance or other fraud detectors to make sure criminals aren't using their or their children's information.