This week, a malware attack struck Ukrainian computer systems and quickly spread to tens of thousands of machines across dozens of countries, including the U.K. and the United States.
The proliferating computer virus, called Petya, raises the question ― as is often the case when data hacks, breaches and disruptions occur ― of just how safe an end user’s personal information is when it’s on a network.
It’s unclear whether the Ukrainian attackers were motivated by money or mayhem. But money is certainly the motive when it comes to what likely impacts individuals far more than a malware virus: the theft of your personal health records.
TrendMicro, an information security company, has reported that the health care sector is now the preferred target for cybercriminals. The industry, with hospitals leading the way, has been the top target of data breaches, followed by government and retail. In 2015, a total of 113.2 million health care-related records were stolen, the most ever, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Ed Cabrera, chief cybersecurity officer for TrendMicro and former chief information security officer for the U.S. Secret Service, told HuffPost that medical records are targeted by cybercriminals because they contain the most comprehensive data and provide multiple selling opportunities for the so-called dark web.