The healthcare sector is facing systemic, repeated cyberattacks that do not just endanger systems: they are a direct threat to human life.”
Stéphane Duguin, CEO CyberPeace Institute

The Threat

While the healthcare sector has long been at risk from cyberattacks, the harms to human security are heightened during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, when people across the world are particularly reliant on health services. Cyber operations that disrupt healthcare services are a direct threat to human security, which is vital to cyberpeace. Recent events show an emerging trend: cyber operations increasingly put human lives in jeopardy.

The Victims

Healthcare providers and people in need of medical care are often victims of cyberattacks. After documenting one attack per day at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the escalation of attacks is evident: the tragic death of a patient after a ransomware attack in Duesseldorf, Germany, the crippling of 400 hospitals run by Universal Health Services in the United States, and the leak of patient records in Finland.

The Law

Many states, private sector and civil society organizations have reaffirmed their view that international law applies in cyberspace. Existing laws offer strong protection for the health sector and medical facilities against cyber operations, but the effectiveness of this protection may be limited by a number of grey areas, such as differing definitions of key terms and concepts or contrasting application in different contexts.

Attacks On Healthcare In The News

In recent months, media outlets have described attacks against medical facilities all over the world. Browse through the timeline to know more

Heatmap of attacks

Explore the map to discover where the attacks on healthcare happen.

Our Actions

Call to

Healthcare is under attack. Daily. During one of the worst pandemics in history, cyberattacks are a direct threat to human life. Our Call to Action invited governments to stop cyber operations against medical facilities and protect healthcare.

Cyber 4

Healthcare needs support. We partner with qualified and reputable companies to provide free and trusted cybersecurity assistance to help healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19. Is your organization in need of help? 

Call for

Healthcare needs a voice. Although attacks are multiplying, their real-life impact is too often ignored. We are calling on anyone who has experienced first-hand consequences of such attacks to share their stories.


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