Healthcare… Dealing with the Biggest Cybersecurity Challenge
Cybercrime has grown by 600% since the start of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. It should come as no surprise that the healthcare industry was one of the most vulnerable to cyberattacks in 2020 and 2021.
In reality, the entire scenario with the pandemic has thoroughly highlighted the healthcare industry's fragility. What caused this to occur? The explanation is simple: personal data is now one of the most valuable assets. Millions of medical records are stolen and sold on the dark web by hackers.
Let us examine how much cybercrime damaged the healthcare industry in 2020:
- According to Verizon, data breaches in the healthcare industry would grow by 58% in 2020.
- The National Health Service (NHS) suffered a loss of more than $100 million because of the WannaCry ransomware assault.
- By 2020, the healthcare industry would have seen at least one breach every day because of ransomware attacks. Consequently, hackers sold over 27 million patient records.
- The FBI stated that cybercrime in the healthcare business in the United States increased by 2,473 in 2020, resulting in a $30 million loss.
- According to Check Point Research, healthcare cyberattacks rose by 45 percent between November and December 2020. In terms of countries, by the end of 2020, Canada had seen a 250 percent increase in cyberattacks on the healthcare sector; while Germany had seen a 220 percent increase.
Hackers have always been tempted to the prospect of stealing and selling valuable data, therefore cyberattacks on the health sector are nothing new. Why was the healthcare industry so badly impacted in 2020?
- Patients' Private Data and Healthcare System Overload - As previously stated, the primary cause for cyber-attacks is private data. Addresses and phone numbers, social security numbers, and even information on health behaviors are included in the health records.
- Cybercriminals can sell and resell personal data several times.
- Furthermore, the healthcare industry was considerably overburdened as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Any delay or failure may well be catastrophic. As a result, in the event of a ransomware attack, hospitals would be more forced to pay a large ransom in order to restore the system as quickly as possible and continue delivering emergency medical aid uninterrupted.
- Weak Networks and Weak Cybersecurity - The healthcare industry is less secure than other industries in terms of cybersecurity due to a lack of cyber-awareness among personnel, obsolete software, and vulnerable laws. Simultaneously, hackers exploit vulnerabilities in hospital cybersecurity. For example:
- cybercriminals gain access to unprotected or poorly secured networks;
- when healthcare workers use personal devices to connect to the hospital network, it becomes even more vulnerable to hackers;
- multiple IoT devices, which are increasingly being used in healthcare organizations, provide easier access to criminals.
The spread of virtual healthcare, the usage of IoT, and the ability to use technology is an incredible means of obtaining important information, delivering rapid and effective treatment, and tracking progress in real-time. On the other side, each connection represents a possible entry point for hackers to gain access to susceptible devices and networks.
COVID-19 does not appear to be going away in 2021, nor do cybersecurity risks. Constant cyberattacks against healthcare and medical establishments are expected to increase this year:
- According to Check Point research, ransomware assaults surged by 102 percent in the first half of 2021 compared to the same time in 2020.
- The latest waves of ransomware now target backup data, and this trend will continue in 2021.
- Compound cyberattacks are expected to increase significantly in 2021: hackers often collect data before encrypting it in order to blackmail the hospital until it decides to pay the ransom.
- The healthcare and public health sectors are estimated to spend $18 billion on cybersecurity in 2021.
Cyberattacks are getting harder to spot, prevent, and neutralize. Despite the fact that many healthcare companies realize the threats posed by cyber-attacks, cybersecurity remains underfunded. As a result, while hackers may frequently access unprotected networks in seconds, it can take weeks for some companies to discover the breach, mitigate the damage, and prevent it from happening again.
In any case, as more and more health companies recognize the significant financial, reputational, and even life-threatening consequences of data breaches, they are focusing on cybersecurity. Here are some fundamental approaches to enhance it:
- Cybersecurity culture / education: First and foremost, each employee must realize that he is accountable for the data protection of patients: thieves frequently target personal devices to access company networks. This should be highlighted in any cybersecurity training. The most widespread and destructive type of cyber-attack is ransomware. One of the most essential stages toward corporate security is training staff to recognize and prevent fraudulent emails. Employees must be aware that even if such emails are not infected, they contain messages enticing users to click on dangerous links.
Every medical institution must have a complete and effective cybersecurity plan in place, and all workers must follow it.
- Stay proactive and vigilant - backup: Want to restore your files quickly? Back up them regularly! It is usually advised to follow the “3-2-1” backup rule: store data in three separate locations, on two different types of storage, and maintain one copy offsite.
- Use secure passwords: According to different studies, most data breaches are caused by weak passwords. Healthcare organizations frequently strive to avoid employing complex, difficult-to-remember passwords. However, it is critical to not only choose strong passwords but also to keep them up to date on a regular basis.
Using comprehensive password management solutions might also be an essential option.
- Remain proactive and watchful - backup: Back up your files on a regular basis and you will be able to recover them fast! Typically, the “3-2-1” backup guideline is followed: storing data in three separate locations, on two different types of storage, and storing one copy offsite.
- Secure the mobile devices: Using portable devices at work assists many medical personnel in providing rapid and quality medical treatment. On the other hand, keeping data on mobile devices and connecting them to the hospital network might pose a significant danger and raise the likelihood of malware infection. To begin, it is critical to recognize that hackers primarily target end-users; therefore, providing suitable trainings and strengthening core digital hygiene habits might help to rescue the situation. IT workers must continually monitor all networked devices, both permitted and illegal. Furthermore, data encryption is the most effective method of safeguarding data saved on wearables and mobile devices.
- Zero-trust approach (or "perimeterless security"): The transition to a zero-trust security infrastructure is a critical step toward data protection and breach prevention. According to the Zero-trust strategy Companies should not trust any individuals or devices outside or inside their networks, even if they have previously been certified. Before accessing the local network, any connection should be confirmed each time.
- Install anti-virus software: It is important to invest in reputable anti-virus software... However, in order to be safe against the most recent cybersecurity risks, you must keep it updated!
As we are seeing above, enhancing computer security is more vital than ever. Simultaneously time, new studies demonstrate that hackers are able to circumvent even the most sophisticated firewalls and anti-virus software. Patient records are being stolen, sold, and utilized for a variety of purposes because of the most recent rampant ransomware assaults.
Is there any way to protect data once it has been hacked, even if hospitals utilize all of the required procedures to avoid data breaches? Yes. You can improve your cybersecurity landscape and turn any data worthless to thieves with new revolutionary software called Fragglestorm™ (by Cybervore™)! Fragglestorm™ strengthens current security perimeters and encryption technologies to secure any data, regardless of storing location!