With ruthless attacks of cyberattacks relentlessly disrupting companies in every field, an enormous amount of expenditure is required to overhaul the damage. However, some industries are victimized more than others, in fact far more victimized. Healthcare industry, the second largest U.S. industry and one of the most vulnerable industries that can not only threaten lives but also cost lots of operational downtimes, money, and time— grab this dubious limelight.
Healthcare industry itself is responsible up to some extent. In the quest to enhance their patient care quality, they miss on other priorities, to be specific, Cybersecurity.
Cumulatively, healthcare industries on an average spend only half as much on cybersecurity as other industries. For other reasons like attracting an extra-large flock of hackers, the unusually high value of stolen patient records on the black market, hospitals are often found in the never-ending zone of cyberwar. Healthcare saw an average of approximately 32,000 meddling attacks per day per company reported Fortis in 2017.
When any other healthcare worker or a doctor is taken into confidence to click a link or attachment or to open an email that downloads malware to his computer is a case of “phishing attack”. Such emails are usually sent by the attackers, which they further use to gain access to the healthcare firm’s clinical information, administrative, and financial systems.
Connected medical equipment and devices like medical lasers, ventilators, electric wheelchairs, and even MRI and X-ray machines are susceptible to the attack as attackers can use health network to sweep into medical devices.
Adding up to the threat are the vulnerable and widespread Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices, which combines software and components from dozens of suppliers with minimal to zero concern for security. Not only the organizations but individual patients can also be on the radar.
It’s an alarming situation that needs to be tackled urgently. For starters healthcare firms must increase the thoroughness and speed of software and update process. More elaborate network inspection and segmentation are required as IoMT devices continue to thrive.
A sectionalized approach will allow firms to establish policies and checks at different stages of the network to regulate data flow, applications, and users, and to more efficiently isolate and identify security threats. For the network visibility front, healthcare organizations require more understanding throughout the network, inclusive of the cloud.
An impressive technology that allows for the encryption of data-in-use and that has tremendous potential to lock down the most valuable medical information—homomorphic encryption can be the apparent solution. Often the target of cyber thieves, this technology can safeguard personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive medical records.
This technology will shut down the most aggressive “data-focused” hackers, even though healthcare records that are rich in data are worth more than 10 times a credit card on the black market.
These step-ups are impossible without efforts and considerable monetary investment. It is remarkable that hospitals focus prodigiously on everyday quality of care, but with changing time, they need to look at their mission with a wider perception.
Intensifying merger and acquisition activity in the healthcare sector is one of the obstacles that infirmaries face in following the path toward change. The need to share information between newly merged organizations, IT integrating challenges, counting various medical technologies create additional vulnerabilities.