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Credit Ratings Now Impacted By Cybersecurity Response

Credit-rating agencies are placing more emphasis on companies' responses to cyberattacks as a factor in their creditworthiness. S&P Global Ratings have downgraded companies and government agencies that suffered cyberattacks, which resulted in IT outages and financial damage.

Credit Score Impacted by Cybersecurity Hack
Credit Score Impacted by Cybersecurity Hack

Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have also issued warnings about cybersecurity risks. A cyberattack can have immediate financial consequences, but some impacts may not become clear until later, affecting a company's ability to repay its debt. The ratings agencies need information on what happened during the attack, and proactive communication from companies can help them make informed decisions.

Ransomware groups often strike when companies are vulnerable, such as during mergers or acquisitions. The Princeton Community Hospital in West Virginia lost revenue and was downgraded by S&P after a ransomware attack in 2017. Cyberattacks can leave organizations less able to respond to other business changes over the long term, causing serious rating implications. Companies must prioritize cybersecurity and communicate their response plans clearly to ratings agencies to avoid negative creditworthiness implications.

Princeton Community Hospital

The ransomware attack on Princeton Community Hospital in West Virginia took place in 2017:

  • The attack occurred on March 7, 2017.

  • The hackers demanded a ransom of $10 million in Bitcoin.

  • The hospital was unable to pay the ransom, and was forced to shut down its computer systems.

  • This caused the hospital to lose revenue, as it was unable to see patients or provide medical services.

  • The hospital was also downgraded by S&P, as the attack was seen as a sign of financial instability.

  • The hospital eventually recovered from the attack, but it took several months.

The Princeton Community Hospital ransomware attack is a reminder of the growing threat of ransomware attacks to hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Ransomware attacks are a type of cyberattack in which hackers encrypt a victim's data and demand a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, as they often have sensitive data that could be used to extort money from them.

There are a number of steps that healthcare organizations can take to protect themselves from ransomware attacks, including:

  • Implementing strong security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems.

  • Educating employees about cybersecurity threats and how to protect themselves from them.

  • Having a plan in place to respond to a ransomware attack.

By taking these steps, healthcare organizations can help to protect themselves from ransomware attacks and the financial and operational disruptions that they can cause.

In addition to the financial and operational disruptions, ransomware attacks can also have a negative impact on patient care. When a hospital's computer systems are down, it can be difficult to see patients, provide medical services, and maintain patient records. This can lead to delays in care, errors, and even patient harm.

The Princeton Community Hospital ransomware attack is a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity for healthcare organizations. By taking steps to protect themselves from ransomware attacks, healthcare organizations can help to ensure that they can continue to provide quality care to their patients.

Other Companies Impacted

Here is a list of companies whose credit scores have been impacted by cybersecurity hacks or ransomware events:

  • Equifax

  • Target

  • Home Depot

  • Sony Pictures

  • Yahoo

  • Marriott International

  • Under Armour

  • WageWorks

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill

  • Neiman Marcus

These companies have all been the victims of major cybersecurity breaches, which have resulted in the loss of sensitive customer data. In some cases, the breaches have also resulted in financial losses for the companies. As a result of these breaches, the credit scores of these companies have been downgraded by credit rating agencies.

A downgraded credit score can make it more difficult for a company to borrow money, which can impact its ability to operate and grow. In some cases, a downgraded credit score can even lead to bankruptcy.





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