Congress tackles cyber threats in health sector

Congress is increasingly sounding the alarm over cyber threats targeting the health care sector.


Several congressional lawmakers have stepped up their efforts to protect the industry amid a rise in cyberattacks by introducing policies and recommendations aimed at addressing and mitigating such threats.


“Over the past decade, the American public has witnessed increasingly brazen and disruptive attacks on its health care sector that jeopardize sensitive personal information, delay treatment, and ultimately lead to increased suffering and death,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted in a report published this week, before outlining recommendations on ways the federal government can improve security standards in the sector to combat those attacks.


The report, which is divided into three sections, recommends that the federal government improve the country’s cybersecurity risk posture in the health care sector, help the private sector mitigate cyber threats and assist health care providers in responding to and recovering from cyberattacks.

  • “The senator’s report addresses areas of weakness that hospitals have worked tirelessly to mitigate for a long time,” said Christopher Plummer, a senior cybersecurity architect at Dartmouth Health.
  • “Just seeing an acknowledgement of this in writing, and from this level of the government, gives a lot of hope,” Plummer added.

Plummer said that the rising challenges of cybersecurity insurance and the labor shortage of cyber workers across industries were among a few topics in the report that resonated with him. He added that the resources hospitals need to combat threats will vary greatly based on the size and cyber capabilities of the company.