Between 2019 and 2020 alone, cyber-attacks targeting healthcare faculties in the US rose by a dangerous 55%.
If we take that to the global scale, the numbers could get even scarier. If that tells us anything, it is that this is the best time to nip the issue in the bud.
Today, we discuss why these cyber-attacks are on the rise in this industry – and what to do about it too.
Value of Patient Info
Hackers follow the money – and there is money in patient info.
Every patient database contains everything from the names, social security numbers, insurance records, and health status of the patient to their credit card details.
With that treasure trove of data, it is little surprise why that information will be worth a lot on the black market – or even more to hackers who can use such data themselves.
Fix: Multi-factor authentication is the best bet to secure patient info in the healthcare niche these days. A single login, backed up by the MFA, grants user access. Fortunately, that limits each user login to one session each.
Medical Tech Software
Medical tech software and hardware are on the rise – and so are the attacks against them.
From wearable devices to insulin pumps and other network-enabled units, hackers are finding it easier to gain entry.
Truth be told, some of the faults are with the device manufacturers and software providers. However, this just means that the healthcare industry should have more IT experts vetting what they get to make sure it is in the best interests of the patients too.
Fix: Software updates are as important as buying from a reputable brand. Using a VPN for security is also a no-brainer to keep medical data on-device, and safe when being transported online. Finally, suspicious action should be reported ASAP – with the password and other entry details changed in the meantime.
Remote Data Access
Human error remains one of the biggest breach factors in any industry, not just the healthcare industry.
The coronavirus pandemic made it such that healthcare personnel had to work from locations other than the hospital. Thus, they needed a way to access patient data remotely. This access opened up the door to more breaches and threats in that time also.
When establishing such a remote connection, not all devices will be safe. The hacker just needs to target one unsafe unit and they have access to the entire network.
Fix: Members of staff should be trained in best cybersecurity practices. Healthcare practitioners should also secure their units, update their firmware and follow best practices to ensure they are not the weak link in the security chain.
Addressing it all
The fault is widely distributed among the healthcare facilities, their members of staff, and other third-party sources (contractors, manufacturers, etc) that play in the industry too.
Thus, getting the security situation under control means catering to all of the different aspects that impact the industry for a holistic cleaning. Building on the points above, that begins to look possible.
Brad Smith is a technology expert at TurnOnVPN, a non-profit promoting safe and free internet for all. He writes about his dream for free internet and unravels the horror behind big techs.