Cybersecurity in Healthcare

With the increased involvement of technology in healthcare, humans have kept advancing in the medical field by leaps and bounds. The internet has also played a major role in this by breaking down invisible barriers through connectivity. This increased tech integration in the healthcare industry has obviously been a big plus for mankind. But there is a catch. 

More internet integrated means more routes for interaction. And although these channels can be used for beneficial purposes, they can also be used to perform malicious activities. The threat of cyber attackers is very real. This could pose a whole host of problems for the healthcare industry as well as important medical data could become vulnerable. 

But according to surveys, the healthcare sector is predominantly unprepared for such scenarios as most of their workers are dedicated towards healthcare services. This negligence has resulted in an increase in cyberattacks over the past year. Ransomware attacks and Island hopping are examples of some of the countless techniques hackers use to disrupt services. 

Cyber Attackers can even access, steal and sell patient information on the dark web and that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg! Some of the more skilled attackers have the ability to entirely shut down a hospital’s access to critical systems and patient records, making effective treatment almost impossible.

Many healthcare facilities train their employees to handle cyber attacks on a yearly basis but only a few of them hae\ve dedicated threat hunting teams. The lack in cybersecurity facilities in general is very evident as CISO, an organization that grades the cybersecurity expertise of its partner facilities, awards more C grades on average, which is far from optimal. 

Complacency is the most common cause for drops in cybersecurity vigilance. This is a cause for major concern as sometimes even when a company focuses on its cybersecurity, attacks can happen. But luckily there are certain steps an organization can take to avoid such adverse scenarios. 

  • With the increasing usage of technology and the internet in healthcare, attackers have more access as there could be several endpoints through which they can cause problems. This can be helped if the endpoints are made visible. This way, the concerned organization can be aware of potential weak points and bolster them to prevent future attacks.
  • Reports have shown that there has been a significant increase in cyber attacks over the past year. Such attacks can cause damage that could take days or even months to fix. A better way to tackle these issues would be to place preventive protocols in place to stop them from happening in the first place. Conducting frequent threat hunts and performing regular system audits and vulnerability assessments could prove to be very helpful in handling cyberattacks before they occur.
  • Most cyberattacks are carried out with an intention to damage data. Loss of important medical data could offset medical services significantly. An easy workaround to lost or stolen data is performing routine data back ups. By doing so medical records can be retained even in the case of a data damaging attack. 

The world is evolving. The battlegrounds for wars are starting to shift to the digital plane. Such threats can not only lead to loss of data but could also lead to other large scale problems in the long run. The need to bolster cybersecurity is imperative. Healthcare facilities must start giving more importance to these issues and take the necessary steps to keep their data and by extension their patients safe from any kind of threat.