A number of cyberattacks have garnered headlines lately—namely the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in May and the December 2020 SolarWinds data breach—but experts say that policymakers are overlooking a very vulnerable industry: healthcare.

The WannaCry ransomware attack, which took down the United Kingdom’s National Health Service in 2017, served as a wake-up call to health care organizations around the world, illuminating the urgent need for proactive investments in cybersecurity. And yet, health care organizations in the U.S. remain a vulnerable target, lagging behind other industries on key measures of cyber-readiness.

As the resurgence of COVID-19 cases stretch hospital capacity to the limit, it provides a fresh reminder of just how critical it is for our health care infrastructure to be resilient in times of crises.

With the sharp uptick in ransomware attacks on health care organizations during the pandemic—and the first death attributed to a ransomware attack in 2020—it is clear that that malicious actors are capable of compromising mission-critical health care infrastructure, from the automated refrigerators that store blood products for surgeries to the CT scans that are vital for triaging trauma patients.

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