Hackers target insurers and other businesses in the health industry because your medical information is worth 10 times more than your payment card info on the black market. If that wasn't scary enough, the healthcare industry isn't doing nearly enough to stop cybercriminals and protect your data.
How bad is the problem? A recent report from the Ponemon Institute states that 91% of health industry companies it surveyed have had at least one data breach during the past two years.
"Organizations in the healthcare space are not playing their 'A game' in terms of security and data protection," said Larry Ponemon, founder and CEO of the Ponemon Institute. "There are some exceptions, but generally speaking, healthcare providers either lack the resources, staff or the technical innovations to meet the changing cyber-threat environment."
The survey also found that half of the companies involved are not confident that they'd be able to detect every breach. This is a real problem, because identity theft cases are on the rise in the U.S. and these breaches are costing the healthcare industry $6 billion a year.
Sometimes, data can be lost when an employee misplaces a computer or a storage drive, but the majority of these data thefts can be blamed on criminal attacks like cybercrime. These types of crimes have increased by 125% since 2010. Organized crime gangs want to get their hands on your medical records, because each record can sell for up to $70 on the black market.
"Consumers should be mad as heck that their personal medical information is being lost, stolen and exposed at a greater rate than ever," said Rick Kam, founder and president of ID Experts, which sponsored the study.
If criminals get a hold of your medical record, they could access your Social Security number, birth date and other sensitive information. But, that's not all. Medical identity theft is also a health risk. If someone uses your stolen information to have a procedure done, all of their information, like blood type and allergies, could be erroneously recorded into your file.
"Medical identity theft is 100 times worse than financial identity theft -- it could actually kill you," Kam told NBC News.