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Infographic: Healthcare Sector Leads Rank for Ransomware Attacks

Analysis  |  By Marie DeFreitas  
   April 10, 2024

Healthcare has a big target on its back when it comes to ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks affect dozens of different sectors, but healthcare seems to be a particular favorite. An analysis published by EmsiSoft looked at just how big the ransomware problem is for hospitals and health systems. 

Firstly, ransomware attacks are difficult to gather data on because many of them aren’t recognized as ransomware attacks. “Encryption events” is a term often used which can make tracking these events a challenge, reported cybersecurity firm Emsisoft. 

In 2023 over 2,000 hospitals, schools and governments were directly impacted by ransomware attacks. The Change Healthcare attack is just the latest in the mix, and now they may even be facing another one

At least 141 hospitals were affected by ransomware attacks last year, and cost U.S. healthcare organizations about $77 billion in downtime alone since 2016. 

So far, despite government task forces, asset seizures and arrests have been implemented, but ransomware attacks persist. One solution may even be to outright ban the payment of ransoms, according to Emsisoft, stating in a blog post: “If it is made unprofitable, most attacks will quickly stop.” 

The massive issue is only set to worsen unless health tech experts can find viable solutions to protect health systems from these attacks. Check out this infographic for a breakdown of where healthcare falls in ransomware attacks.

Marie DeFreitas is an associate content specialist at HealthLeaders.


Healthcare is a prime target for ransomware attacks, with at least 141 hospitals affected last year alone.

Ransomware attacks have cost U.S. healthcare organizations about $77 billion in downtime since 2016.

One possible solution to combat these attacks is to ban the payment of ransoms, as making it unprofitable may deter attackers from targeting healthcare systems.

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