According to a recent study by researchers from Vanderbilt University, the number of heart attack deaths in hospitals correlates with the number of cyber attacks using ransomware. In affected hospitals and medical centres, 36 more people died of heart attack than the average number of such cases. Additionally, at these facilities, heart attack patients had to wait 2.7 minutes longer for electrocardiography than at hospitals where no ransomware attack occurred. According to experts, also remediation efforts after cyber attacks may lead to delays in procedures and hinder the provision of care based on electronic equipment. If this trend continues, the vulnerabilities of ICT systems may soon "kill people". The study was based on data from more than 3,000 hospitals, of which about 10 per cent suffered from a ransomware attack.
The prime example of the effect ransomware has on healthcare institutions is the notorious WannaCry attack. In the UK the activity of this malware generated costs of £100 million and led to significant difficulties in the operation of medical facilities. The attack cancelled more than 19,000 pre-planned medical visits, treatments and operations and affected more than a third of all UK public health hospitals (NHS) and around 8 per cent of GP surgeries.