Monday, October 3, 2022

Truth In IT

Why Healthcare is on top of the Cyberattack Hitlist

Cyberattacks in the healthcare sector have exploded since the beginning of last year when CPVID-19 ran rampant. Today, these attacks are on the rise. New data from Check Point Software shows that cyberattacks on healthcare have risen as much as 45% in the past two months.

The pandemic that has infected more than 100 million people worldwide and caused 2 million deaths is hitting the health sector hardest. Specifically, Canada experienced the worst increase, with 250% more attacks. Other areas of the world include:

  • Central Europe (145%)
  • East Asia (137%)
  • Latin Americas (112%)
  • Eastern Europe (97%)
  • Europe (67%)
  • North America (37%)
  • South Asia (37%)
  • Asia (37%)
  • Iberia (23%)
  • Southern Europe (17%)
  • South East Asia (11%)

When it comes to healthcare, cyberattacks can have consequences far beyond breach of privacy or financial loss. Most often, attacks range from:

  • Ransomware
  • Data breaches
  • DDoS attacks
  • Insider threat
  • Business email compromise
  • Fraud scams

The staff that work tirelessly within the healthcare industry tend to endure long, busy days. They don’t have the time or the energy to educate themselves regarding the latest online attacks. Luckily, leaders in healthcare are starting to realize that it’s imperative to increase investment in cybersecurity protection.

Why is Healthcare the Biggest Target for Cybercriminals?

#1 Money

Confidential data is a lucrative business and often the main reason behind these cyberattacks. The fact is, healthcare organizations are obliged to keep their patient records safe. Those criminals that are able to sell these records are rewarded with large sums, making the industry a mounting target.

#2 Medical Devices are Vulnerable

Insulin pumps, defibrillators, and x-rays are medical devices that play a crucial role in saving lives. However, devices like these are designed to monitor heart rates, blood sugar levels or dispense drugs, not for security. Unfortunately, many medical devices can be entirely exploited by hackers

While they don’t include any patient data themselves, hackers are able to use these medical devices to gain access to other network devices.

#3 Remote Work

With more than a fifth of the population working from home at some stage last year, the same can be said for medical workers. There is a high risk whenever you connect to a network remotely. On top of that, healthcare workers are often uneducated in best practices for cybersecurity.

Just one hacked device can make a whole organization completely vulnerable. This is why investing in reliable cybersecurity solutions is essential.

#4 Avoidance of New Technology

Healthcare staff often work lengthy shifts and are some of the most in-demand workers in the world. With COVID-19, this has multiplied thousands of times over. Changing climates and expectations in healthcare in the past year means that introducing new technology for cybersecurity is just not an option for staff.

Instead, cybersecurity companies can focus on integrating security practices so that staff are able to get on with daily tasks with minimal distractions.

#5 Small Organizations are also at Risk

As with many fields, it is often believed that there are risks in terms of cybersecurity for the most prominent players. While it is true that the largest enterprises also have the most data to steal, they also have larger security budgets.

Healthcare businesses and organizations on a smaller scale have less complex and systems keeping their information safe. They’re also often dated, compared to their larger counterparts. This means hackers often see smaller healthcare organizations as an easier target.

#6 Outdated Technology

Although the medical industry has come leaps and bounds in the past few decades, it is genuinely shocking that security hasn’t evolved as much as it has in other sectors.

This is amplified by the fact that many have limited budgets as well as the inability and hesitancy for the education of staff. Those facilities that have regular updates should ensure their systems and software are guarded with their most recent versions.

Software updates eventually cease at some stage. The unwillingness to bother the medical team with new and updated equipment often results in losing a layer of protection

Final Word

Organizations within the healthcare sector have an explicit obligation to keep patient information secure and confidential.

With the rise of dangerous online threats such as DDoS attacks and ransomware, there is more pressure than ever on the healthcare system.

One of the best ways to ensure that data remains secure is to invest in cybersecurity solutions. Staying on top of new threats is essential, but keeping healthcare workers focused on their own roles is just as important.

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