Cyber Attacks Are Booming in Healthcare Industry

    The coronavirus pandemic has yielded many unexpected results for various industries. It created an atmosphere of uncertainty and from this atmosphere, the opportunity for cyber attacks has arisen. As the pandemic has affected people’s health and the healthcare sector the most, the impact of cyber attacks on healthcare organisations has been particularly devastating.

    Cyber Attacks Against Hospitals And Healthcare Providers Have Increased More Than Ever

    Adding insult to injury, the frequency of cyber attacks on the healthcare sector has been on the rise compared to the previous year. According to the IBM report, they have increased by about 55%, including different types of attacks. Phishing emails and IT hacks are damaging, of course, but the most harmful cyber-attack on the healthcare sector is a ransomware attack. In fact, Forbes claims that almost 75% of the attacks on the healthcare sector are ransomware attacks. The reason is that ransomware attacks are hard to counter since they target uninformed employees of the industry. Since they are busy with their regular workload, the possibility of making a mistake increases inevitably.

    In line with that, this research by Bitglass states that the cost of breaches has risen up by %14 last year. Moreover, the detection time is between 3 to 8 months. The more the time to detect attacks increases, the further the damage it deals. 

    Why Is the Healthcare Industry Often Targeted?

    There are numerous reasons why the healthcare industry has to deal with a constant danger of a cyber threat. Firstly, private patient information is attractive for hackers. This is because patient data is quite detailed and contains sensitive information. In addition, hospitals keep track of every patient they interact with. That creates an enormous data lake for the attackers to aim for. 

    Another reason why the healthcare industry appeals to the attackers is that medical devices are not designed to combat data breaches. They don’t have to contain sensitive data on their own – they can serve as a bridge to the vault of information. 

    In addition, the healthcare industry employees are not competent enough for the modern methods which the attackers use. The devices they use also fall behind in terms of innovativeness. Combined, the need to be more modern, and informed about the threats that arise. Educating the employees is a vital way to keep the data secure. The Department of Health and Human Services of countries might consider developing digital awareness education to prevent this issue. 

    Finally, the overall workflow of healthcare organisations requires the constant distribution of information among its branches. This precious data is necessarily passed from hand to hand to keep the business operating. Therefore, during those transfers, it is open to any sort of attack and can be exploited with ease. 

    Keeping this in mind, the healthcare industry is facing possible penalties from internet regulation and safety protocols such as GDPR. Healthcare cyber security should be strengthened in order not to be victimized by such attacks. Since cyber attackers can skillfully use various types of methods to exploit data, organizations need to back up their data regularly.  Apart from that, they should also keep the protection of their systems at the highest level, and protect offline backups with strong passwords.

    A Contemporary Solution For a Further Protection

    The need for strengthening the cyber security posture of healthcare organizations is urgent. This article claims that 88% of MedTech executives don’t believe that they are ready for a cyber attack. This means that executives are well aware of the dangers they face now and will most likely keep on facing in the future. Thus, a contemporary solution to handle these attacks should be found. At this point, a bug bounty program constitutes a solid answer to many needs of the industry. To support this idea, this article by ChiefHealthCareExecutive suggests bug bounty programs deal with attackers. 

    The reason why bug bounty is important in this manner is that it’s flexible, efficient, time-saving and budget-friendly. Plus, it operates with freelance white-hat hackers who are skilled enough to fend off the attacks. They are used to modern problems and their up-to-date skillset is certainly beneficial for the outdated healthcare industry.

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