As the healthcare industry increasingly relies on the Internet of Things (IoT) to handle patient records, radiology equipment, clinical support, healthcare, and lab results, it has become more vulnerable to cyber attacks, malware, and information breaches. The advance of technology creates huge benefits for the wellbeing of patients, but the weak spots of technology are often ignored.
Cybersecurity experts point out that ransomware and cyber attacks are on the rise with computer virus programs that are able to fool doctors and other medical specialists into misdiagnosing patients. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, data breaches cost healthcare industries almost $5.6 billion every year, and in 2016, the average was at least one data breach per day which affected more than 27 million patient records. Other technologies steal patient information, hijack important hospital equipment, or possibly shut down a hospital.
With the rise of hacking and security issues, finding a way to establish immunity for healthcare’s cybersecurity is crucial. As the IoT network grows, healthcare industries are facing more attacks and an increased need to develop a sophisticated system for protecting their information and blocking attacks.
A data breach can occur in a few seconds or minutes, and the detection and subsequent damage control may take weeks or months to fully repair.
The Common Cold of Cybersecurity Breaches
The motivating factor behind cybersecurity breaches is money. Most hackers are after information that will connect them to fund easily. Based on this, data breaches use a variation of the following techniques to obtain the desired information.
The cloud is a convenient place for information to be stored. Be aware however that without the appropriate encryption, information can be vulnerable.
Malware and Ransomware
To leverage a ransom, cybercriminals use technology to shut down individual devices or entire networks to demand a certain sum of money to release the system from the blackout.
Styled to appear reputable, these websites request key pieces of information from users. Once in the hands of cybercriminals, the information can be used to obtain money.
A mass email from a seemingly reputable brand can result in an easy sweep of information that makes it convenient for cybercriminals to steal money or identities.
Encryption Blind Spots
While encryption is often treated as the best way to protect information, sometimes hackers locate a blind spot to run operations.
Weak passwords can be one of the easiest ways for a cyber attack to occur, as well as unencrypted devices.
The influx of technology use and data exchange has an amazing amount of zettabytes flying around every year. In fact, the Cisco Cloud Index report projected that the annual global data center IP traffic will reach 20.6 zettabytes by 2021. That’s a lot of information.
When it comes to healthcare data, Americans generally trust healthcare providers to protect their information. Healthcare organizations process information such as social security numbers, contact information, medical records, insurance cards, and credit card information.
Healthcare and Technology Prescriptions to Prevent Cyber Attacks
To protect the technology and network, the healthcare industry must always be working ahead of possible cyber attacks. With limited resources and urgency, this can be difficult for the industry to prioritize. However, the industry is beginning to recognize the need for cyber attack security.
When it comes to ransomware, the key is to employ good security for user devices, email, firewalls, and website gateways. Sometimes no matter what is done, the organization may face a ransom for information. Often, there is another option other than paying the ransom, including rebuilding files, seeking an encryption decoder, or working with security partners.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
Good security can help prevent advanced persistent threats that can occur through various means. Sometimes the threat is as simple as an individual downloading information to a thumb drive and walking away with it. Different strategies can be implemented to cut down on the possibility of a loss of data through devices.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
A poorly performing network of technology can be more susceptible to attack. If you have a large system that is being slowed down by a DDoS attack, DNS services can help to detect and resolve such issues. Critical web applications for your network can also be secured through web application firewalls.
Healthcare information is some of the most important in the world, and healthcare organizations will face constant targeting.
Data breaches result in a significant financial impact on the healthcare industry, patients, and more. That’s why it’s more important than ever for healthcare industries to be fully protected from cyber attacks. Healthcare organizations need to develop and maintain a strong security culture with ongoing cybersecurity training and innovation.
Moreover, when mobile devices are in use for dealing with patient health records and care, the devices must be encrypted to ensure the security of the information. New employees should be trained in the best practices of using computer software and operating systems. Access to protected health information should only be granted to a select few.
To further protect health organizations from cyber attacks, it’s crucial to prepare for the unexpected. No one knows when the next attack will occur. The healthcare industry should take steps to ensure that teams of people are developing ways to protect information across multiple levels.
Cybersecurity within the healthcare industry only becomes more important every year. With so many constant threats, healthcare organizations can protect information by constant vigilance and seeking ways to stay ahead of the possible cyber attacks.
At The InterMed Group, we can help you keep your medical devices and software protected. Give us a call today at 800-768-8622, and let’s talk about cybersecurity.