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America's rural hospitals keep getting attacked by cybercriminals. Microsoft and Google are working to fix that

·2 mins

Microsoft and Google have announced plans to offer free or discounted cybersecurity services to rural hospitals in the US. The aim is to make these hospitals less vulnerable to cyberattacks that have disrupted patient care and endangered lives. Microsoft will provide free security updates, security assessments, and staff training to eligible rural hospitals. Google will offer free cybersecurity advice and launch a pilot program to match their cybersecurity services with the needs of rural hospitals. This initiative is in response to the growing concern about cyber threats to hospitals and aims to address the gap in the healthcare sector’s defense. The Biden administration is also preparing to introduce minimum cybersecurity requirements for US hospitals. The details of this proposal are yet to be finalized, but the American Hospital Association opposes it, stating that it would penalize victims of cyberattacks. Ransomware attacks on the US healthcare sector have seen a significant increase, with the number rising by 128% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Such attacks have exposed the vulnerability of the healthcare sector, putting patients’ lives and sensitive data at risk. The City of Cleveland is currently investigating a cyber incident that has resulted in the closure of City Hall and the shutdown of internal systems and software. However, essential services such as emergency services and utilities will remain operational while the situation is rectified.