24 Jun 2016

Medical-TargetIf you have been following this blog, you know that hospitals have become a major target of cybercriminals this year. But why? What is it about the healthcare industry that makes it so attractive to hackers?

  1. Vulnerability. Healthcare facilities need their equipment to be available, which makes them less secure. They were designed with patients in mind, not technical vulnerabilities. It could literally cost a patient their life if they were wheeled into an emergency procedure and the Doctor couldn’t remember the username or password.
  2. The Rise of Ransomware. Ransomware has also increased this year, almost 40 fold. Considering that healthcare facilities NEED their equipment, that is less than secure, they are a perfect target for hi-jacking. They have to pay. If they don’t, it could be extremely detrimental to their patients, even resulting in death.
  3. Bragging Rights. Hackers have their own communities and networks, and can gain notoriety in their “field” for pulling off a major cybercrime, such as a hospital.

What Can the Healthcare Industry Do?

As mentioned, the fact that they need quick access puts them at an automatic disadvantage. Patients who have been impacted by these acts of cyberattacks feel extremely violated, considering the fact that some of their most personal information is now on the black market. But even though this industry is at an automatic disadvantage, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing they can do.

  1. Education and Awareness. Healthcare hacking is an issue that all healthcare workers need to be made aware of, especially those in administration and HR; they should learn as much as possible about securing their particular location, and then take the appropriate measures needed to train their staff to do the same. Taking classes, following RSS newsfeeds on cyber threats within the industry, or connecting to a network of other industry workers are great places to start. Company-wide emails, alerts and even security training are great ways to spread the awareness and education internally.
  2. Keep Tabs. Most practices have at least small IT departments, who should be instructed to check for unusual traffic and to constantly monitor cyber activity so that if there is an attack, it can be caught before any real damage is done.
  3. Ransomware Insurance. Ransomware has become so regular that insurance companies have begun to offer insurance for it. When choosing the right policy, it is important to consider other costs that may be associated with ransomware, in addition to the ransom itself. Talk to your insurance agent; if your business is not covered, look for riders from other insurance agencies, if necessary.
  4. Speak with a Cybersecurity Specialist. A specialist will be able to review your current security, find any possible vulnerabilities, and suggest ways to improve the safety of your workplace, without losing that all-important ease of use that hospitals and other practices in the healthcare industry rely on when it comes to patient care.

Cyber criminals are out there and the harm they can cause is real, to the point where it could even put patients’ lives at risk. Most people think it can’t happen to them, until it does. We can help to ensure the safety of your business, your workers, and, most importantly, your customers. Please email or call us so that we can help protect you and your company today.

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