The use of computers to expedite processes has spread to the health sector. Patient information, prescriptions, and environmental status are all entered into a digital device now. Although the utilization of computers and the internet is making things simpler for medical professionals, it is accompanied by risk.
Anything that is connected to the internet can get overridden by cybercriminals and that includes digital devices for the healthcare industry. Hackers are beginning to cherish the prospect of getting their hands on health data. There is a high demand for information stolen from healthcare organizations on the dark web.
Financial remuneration is a major reason why hospitals are getting more cyberattacks. Below, you’ll find a list of the biggest cyber threats to the healthcare sector.
Top Cyber Risks to Health Institutions
Malware is malicious software and in this instance, it includes ransomware. Both can be used to disable devices connected across a network. Malware is majorly used to steal information from computers. On the other hand, ransomware’s job is for the malicious encrypting of a victim’s files until a ransom is paid.
Phishing attacks can target key members of a health organization. In this case, it is called spear phishing and is used to get a victim’s login credentials.
The victim is deceived by an email or text message that leads to a counterfeit website that looks like the original. Once the login details are fixed, it lands in the hands of the hacker, who can then use it to steal information from the health organization’s database.
Mistakes from Employees
Mistakes made by employees can lead to the theft of patient data. For instance, healthcare professionals that never lock their devices or use weak passwords for their accounts can get breached easily.
Ways for Health Institutions to Improve Cybersecurity
Install Measures for Employee Education
While it is highly beneficial to use security tools to keep out hackers, employees also need to know how to stop cyber-attacks. Even with all the security tools in the world, if a worker gets deceived, hackers will gain access to the clinic’s systems.
Social engineering that includes phishing and installation of malware through emails exploit the ignorance of employees. This can be fixed by organizing routine cybersecurity training sessions for the healthcare professionals in an organization.
Allow Program Updates Instantly
Every day, hackers find new ways to breach systems. They can do this by finding loopholes in software. That is exactly why software developers try to patch these loopholes on time. For every major patch, a new software update is released. Even if there aren’t new features, security fixes will be embedded in every update.
If you ignore software update notifications, the cyber risk to a hospital’s systems will become more severe. This was evident in the WannaCry ransomware attacks in 2017. You can set the computer to allow automatic updates of the operating system.
Strict System Measures
A big chunk of the hacks that take place is made possible through compromised login credentials. Your organization will have to implement strict measures to reduce the chance of hacking. For one, the institution can discourage employees from logging into the healthcare database from personal devices. Home devices are not as protected as the ones in a work environment.
Also, access to patient information can be restricted to only top-level professionals. The fewer people that have access to sensitive information, the better. Measures should also be put in place to ensure former employees lose access to the system database immediately.
Use Different Passwords Across Systems
It will be easier to break into a network of computers that has one general password. Several healthcare professionals are unaware of the dangers of using a single password for accounts. Thus, they use weak passwords that can easily get decoded.
Healthcare organizations need to encourage workers to change passwords frequently. A subscription for a password manager can also be used to create and store complex passwords.
Engage Secure Third Parties
Third-party services can have access to a lot of data when they’re in business with a health organization. A breach of a third-party app can lead to the leak of a firm’s data. You’ll need to make certain that the third-party service you’re getting in business with pays attention to cybersecurity.
Attacks against healthcare organizations are on the rise. Health information about patients is highly demanded and this gears up hackers to attack systems using ransomware, phishing, and malware. To protect a health institution’s data, certain measures need to be implemented. Third-party services should be thoroughly checked, program updates should be instant, and employees need to receive cybersecurity training.
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