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Top 5 Healthcare Cybersecurity Risks
  • IT

There are many healthcare cybersecurity risks, with ransomware being one of the most common threats affecting the industry today. Data breaches can lead to financial loss as well as a loss in your patient’s trust.

It’s critical to ensure that your entire infrastructure is secure including medical equipment and internet connected devices. Check out the top cyber threats in the healthcare industry so you can secure your business properly.

Limited cybersecurity budget

Healthcare organizations are prone to cybersecurity risks due to a limited budget. Medical equipment is expensive. You have to balance the need for new medical equipment and supplies with everything else. This means your cybersecurity budget is often an afterthought.

A recent study found that 41% of healthcare organizations have less than 3% of their IT budget dedicated to security. Without the proper security measures in place, hackers can access critical information in no time. That brings us to the next major cybersecurity threat, ransomware, and malware.

Ransomware and Malware

According to SonicWALL’s Cyber Threat Report, 206.4 million ransomware attacks were reported last year. That’s an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Healthcare organizations are a major target for cybercriminals because of the valuable, personal data collected.

Medical records tend to be more expensive on the black market as opposed to other types of personal records. Scammers are able to use stolen medical data for decades to carry out fraud schemes and to use as blackmail.

Cybercriminals also know you need access to your patient’s data fast. They are counting on you to pay them a high ransom to avoid an even bigger loss due to downtime. Unfortunately, cybercriminals will continue to evolve their tactics in order to get their hands on your medical data.

BYOD Policies

As BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) increases in popularity, the risk of a data breach increases too. Having your staff bring their own laptops, cell phones, and tablets can be very beneficial, however, it also creates more opportunities for cybercriminals to gain access to your data.

Mobile devices can be easily lost or stolen, leaving important patient information vulnerable. There is also the issue of not being able to control what your employees download onto their devices. Applications can contain malware that creates gateways for cybercriminals.

In the Bitglass 2018 BYOD Report, researchers found that while 51% of firms believe the number of threats targeting mobile devices has increased, only 30% are confident they are properly defending against malware. Putting strict BYOD Policies in place, and more importantly enforcing them, can help prevent future breaches.

IoT Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way the healthcare industry operates. From small wearables to entire operating room systems, new technological advances are being made every day.

With each new innovation comes new risks. Simple wearables, like heart monitors, record your patient’s personal health information. If proper security patches aren’t put in place, hackers can gain entry and be able to access your data.

It’s important to implement proper security measures for IoT devices and to educate your patients on security measures they can take at home as well.

People

Employees tend to be one of the largest causes of health care data breaches. 54% of healthcare business associates surveyed say their top vulnerabilities are tied to employee negligence in handling patient information.

Uneducated employees can make simple mistakes. One of the most common ways to infect your network is downloading email attachments that contain malware.

You need to frequently educate your employees on security policies and best practices. This will help you prevent a disaster from happening.

The healthcare industry will remain a hot target for cybercriminals. The best way to protect your patient’s data is to ensure you have the proper defenses in place.