Since most medical institutions use computers to store patient data, they’re susceptible to cyber threats. The hackers behind these threats deal with valuable data, and this includes patient information. Several entities pay a huge price for health data gotten from people.
One of the leading reasons why cyber threats succeed in the medical industry is because of cybersecurity negligence. The few clinics that include cybersecurity in their budgets allocate just a small portion of the money to it. As a result, detecting privacy breaches take long periods.
“Blockchain for Data Security in Healthcare: Eliminating Cyber Risks” – Content:
- How Hackers Breach Medical Institutions
- Ways to Boost Healthcare Cybersecurity
- “Eliminating Cyber Risks in the Healthcare Sector” – Conclusion
How Hackers Breach Medical Institutions
Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to hack the databases of different hospitals. First, there’s phishing which can deceive employees to log in to a fake website created by the hacker.
Then there’s malware that can be employed by the hacker to monitor keystrokes and collect a massive amount of data from a computer. Third, the healthcare institution’s cloud account might be hacked if its handlers fail to understand the importance of cybersecurity.
- Weak Employee Cybersecurity
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack
Malware is the short form for malicious software. It can be transmitted onto a computer through email or dangerous websites.
The primary job of malware is to record all the information on your hospital’s system to send to a hacker. Imagine if every single piece of data you have on patients is in the hands of a cybercriminal. Usually, this information is sold to other entities for malicious purposes.
Ransomware is a type of malware. Its job is to lock all access to files on your computer. Then a ransom payment will be requested. Failure to pay the remuneration can result in the entirety of your data being wiped off. There have been cases where firms paid the ransom but still had their files deleted.
The biggest ransomware attack on the globe to date mainly targeted hospitals in the UK. This attack happened in 2017 and showed the consequences of weak cybersecurity in the health sector.
Phishing is a type of social engineering technique that requires momentary trust. To explain it better, imagine you’re using your smartphone and see an email notification requiring you to take action on your account.
Your first instinct is to check the threat out, abandoning all other measures you’d normally take. That slight amount of panic would make you disregard the sending address which in fact, is from a bogus email address.
Hackers target clinic employees to steal login information. The moment login credentials are fixed in the fake website, the hacker will have unrestricted access to the account and patients’ information.
A healthcare professional that does not understand cybersecurity can easily get breached. Such workers use smartphones and accounts with weak or non-existent passwords.
In the case of a rival clinic looking to get ahead, such employees are prime targets. The worst part is that the theft of that employee’s device would seem random. It is only when patient data starts to get leaked that the organization realizes it was a targeted cyber attack.
A DDoS attack is designed by hackers to take aâ system offline. It involves the overloading of a computer with traffic from several sources.
In this kind of event, a medical institution would be unable to access relevant patient information.
Ways to Boost Healthcare Cybersecurity
- Consistent Staff Traininga
- Establish Data Recovery Plans
- Using Blockchain for Data Security
- Keep Software Up-to-Date
- Encourage Safe Password Practices
- Engage Partners with Trusted Cybersecurity Measures
- Implement Several Security Layers
If your staff knows cybersecurity measures, it’d be harder for cybercriminals to breach your network. Every individual that possesses an account to the office network has to be trained properly.
This training can come in the form of a seminar or booklets. Emphasis should be placed on phishing and safe email practices. This form of training also has to be consistent so employees can keep up with up-to-date cybersecurity trends.
Most of the time, hackers seek to steal data from a health firm. However, these individuals are unpredictable and can come at you in different ways if they experience failure.
For one, you could be attacked by DDoS which denies access to your data temporarily. There are also alternative methods that could ruin your data. To secure your network against this kind of eventuality, you need to back up data on your systems.
You can opt for a cloud service, store the information on servers placed in a remote location, or combine both storage options.
Blockchain is a technology that ensures there’s no single point of failure, making it difficult for a hacker to steal data from a system. Although the solution is relatively new, patients can possess keys to unlock their data with the blockchain.
Depending on which health professional is attending to the patient, the key can be shared so the information can get decrypted. Keys on the blockchain cannot practically be hacked, and hackers would get frustrated trying to break the encryption.
Failing to update the software when due will leave your systems vulnerable to hackers. A software update practically reveals to stakeholders that there are loopholes discovered in a software’s code. Stakeholders in this context include hackers.
When you keep on using the outdated version of the software, cybercriminals can infect your system with malware. One of the worst parts of malware apart from data theft is that it can impair a device’s ability.
Updating your software when due will expunge all of these susceptibilities. If the software being used has an option for automatic updates, activate it. This measure is one of the leading ways to prevent ransomware.
Most healthcare professionals are either Baby Boomers or Gen Xers, their password practices are likely unsafe. Several of them use weak passwords or use the same password across all their accounts.
This way, once a hacker steals a password to one of their accounts, the other accounts become vulnerable. You need to encourage safe password practices such as combining upper and lowercase letters and numbers for passwords.
You can also encourage the use of a password manager to expedite the creation and storage of passwords.
While switching to a more digitized form of healthcare, you’ll liaise with new partners. Theoretically, your partners are a potential point of failure for your data. Even if all of your employees and systems are secure, you could get hacked because of a third party’s lax security measures.
This is why you need to use partners that highlight cybersecurity. Scrutinize the firm you intend to use on their cybersecurity measures. That way, your security from all ends will be airtight.
The key to successfully fending off hacking attempts is by having many security layers. Even if one gets breached, the others would protect your hospital’s data securely.
First, you’ll need a firewall, a tool that acts as a security guard for computers. Second, you’ll have to install anti-malware software which blocks hacking attempts that get past the firewall. Third, you’ll need a VPN to keep out spies from your network traffic. These three primary tools and other secondary tools will ensure you boost your cybersecurity.
“Blockchain for Data Security in Healthcare: Eliminating Cyber Risks” – Conclusion:
Due to the value placed on patient data, privacy breaches are starting to increase in the healthcare industry. Cybercriminals utilize different techniques such as phishing, malware infusion, DDoS attacks, and brute force hacking to steal this data.
To protect your healthcare organization, you can kick-start with consistent staff training, creating plans for data recovery, and using the blockchain as a form of security. You can also update your software, use multiple security layers, and go into tech partnerships with security-aware firms.