1 in 8 Brits have had their medical data stolen

Cybersecurity is a big issue, but seemingly one that isn’t always on everyone’s minds. A week will barely go by without a story highlighting new and innovative ways that hackers have used to get hold of our personal info. And while bank details and passwords remain the main target for data breaches, a new survey has shown that health data is proving to be a goldmine for data thieves.

The latest findings come from research conducted by security company Accenture, which has revealed that one in eight people in the UK have suffered a breach of their healthcare data. From these breaches, 42% of cases reported have lead to fraudulent prescriptions being filled, or access to medical facilities granted with the data.

So where are hackers gaining access? Pharmacies proved to be the weakest link, topping the list as the most likely breach point in the healthcare system.

Aimie Chapple, managing director of Accenture’s UK health practice and client innovation said “Patients must remain more vigilant than ever in keeping track of personal information – including credit card statements and health records – that could alert them to breaches.”

One of the reasons healthcare data security is so important is that unlike credit card theft, there’s no automatic right to a reclaim if you’ve suffered damages from a breach. This means that any losses you incur may not be repaid – and with the average cost hitting £172, this isn’t an expense you’d want to encounter.

Perhaps more concerning is that half of those who experienced a breach went on to become victims of identity theft. Furthermore, over a third of individuals spotted the fraudulent bills on reviewing their own statements, with government agencies alerting the victims in only 20% of cases.

To some extent, providers are offering some response to these issues. Of the people surveyed, 95% said that they have addressed the issues or are implementing safeguards to prevent further breaches. But this might be too little too late for those who have already lost out…

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