2015 was the year of the (most likely Chinese) health hacker: FT

The year 2015 was the year of the hacker for healthcare companies around the world.

That's according to a special report by the Financial Times, with most, if not all, fingers pointing to China as the culprit in the mainland's attempts to shave years off the time required to bring blockbuster drugs to market and in an attempt to shave millions, if not billions, of dollars off the cost of those efforts.

The FT said in its report that investigators have concluded that most of the dozens of hacks targeted at U.S. and European healthcare companies were connected to China.

"We know of multiple threat groups operating out of China that have engaged in attacks in the healthcare industry," Charles Carmakal, an investigator with Mandiant, a cybersecurity company, said in the FT report. "While we believe we know from an organisational perspective who they are, we can't tell who tasked them to do it. The big question is: are they hackers for hire and were they asked by the Chinese government to do this?" Carmakal told the FT.

China, of course, has denied it is behind the hacks, but the FT said American investigators say they believe the government is targeting healthcare companies as well as insurers because the information in the hacked databases could be used for intelligence purposes.

China is also a key suspect because the country is facing a healthcare crisis as its population ages and any shortcuts it can take in reforming its health insurance industry and healthcare industry will help the country save billions. China has said it will provide universal healthcare for all its citizens by 2020.

"China is very interested in anything that will help them with the illnesses they are dealing with and changes in their population," Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the security firm CrowdStrike, told the FT. "For example, diabetes is a big problem in China so they have targeted companies in that space."

- here's the FT report (sub. req.)