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Healthcare and public health were the top targets of ransomware attacks last year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The center received 870 complaints in 2022, according to David Scott, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, in an article  published Monday in Bank info Security.

The top perpetrators of attacks were ransomware firms  LockBit, BlackCat and Hive, according to IC3. In 2022, losses from cyber attacks amounted to roughly $7 billion and totaled an estimated $18.7 billion over the past five years. During that period the center received approximately 2.76 million complaints. However, Scott admitted in the article that number may be the tip of the iceberg since about a quarter of victims don’t report being attacked. 

The FBI report buttresses a report earlier this year by the Theft Research Center that also identified healthcare as one of the biggest targets of computer hackers. That report found that for the third year in a row the industry led all others with data breaches, with 322 hacks. Healthcare accounted for nearly 20% of all incidents that involved compromised data, followed by manufacturing and utilities. 

Home care firms are among the providers that have come under attack by cyber criminals in recent years. In early January, Home Care Providers of Texas filed a notice with the state attorney general’s office reporting that hackers encrypted and removed files from the company’s computer network. The company said the personal and financial information of more than 124,000 patients may have been compromised. Last fall, Aveanna Healthcare agreed to pay $425,000 to the Massachusetts attorney general’s office for failing to protect the personal information of nearly 4,000 patients and employees from phishing attacks. 

The HIPAA Journal, which tracks Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance, reported more than 5,100 data breaches between October 2009 and December 2022. Of those breaches, more than 800 are still under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights.