The healthcare industry has been subject to cyber security attacks that have devastated the entire industry throughout the past five years. The digitalization of healthcare records combined with the number of life-saving devices that rely on digital technology have opened the doors to a new onslaught of cyber attacks. The growing number of attacks is a cause of great concern to both healthcare professionals and the individuals that they serve.
Common Cyber Threats Within The Healthcare Sector
Thus far, 2016 has seen an increase in the number of ransomware attacks within the healthcare sector. Ransomware is one of the top threats stalking the healthcare environment, however, it is not the only threat. Cyber hackers are successfully infiltrating medical devices, virtual infrastructures, and even patient wearables in an effort to gather and exploit personal data.
Experts predict that cyber attacks will continue to increase in size, complexity, and scope. As conventional security methods become all but ineffectual against these attacks, healthcare professionals need to educate themselves on a) the type of attacks that are most likely to occur, b) the reason for these attacks, and c) how to protect valuable business and patient data.
Why will cyberattacks continue to target the healthcare industry?
- Personal Data — Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are being used more within the healthcare industry. The use of EHRs has created a plethora of online data, which offers hackers a tantalizing treasure trove of personal and financial information. These records can then be sold on the “digital black market” to the highest bidder. Identity thieves, other hackers, and anyone with malicious intent would be interested in buying a healthcare record that contains the full name, address, social security number, medical history, and payment history of a patient. This information can then be exploited for further financial gain.
- Intellectual Property — To date, the pharmaceutical industry has been most affected by corporate cyber-espionage. Cybercriminals are interested in infiltrating the long-term Research and Development (R&D) processes that pharmaceutical companies use. A cybercriminal who has successfully infiltrated a company’s network can easily steal a wealth of valuable intellectual property. This property can then be resold or held hostage as part of a well-executed ransomware attack.
- New Attack Vectors — The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly reliant on digital technologies. Critical medical devices can now be compromised by cyber attacks. For example, a security researcher recently presented a way to remotely modify the dosage rates intake on an insulin pump. In another case, researchers were able to manipulate baby monitors by turning them into “mini spying machines” that captured live footage of a victim’s home. This footage could then be exploited for a desired sum. In short, the more connected these devices become, the easier it is for a cyber attacker to find a security loophole that gives them access to the desired device or network.
Protecting Against Cyberattacks Starts With Intrinium
Understanding why cybercriminals are interested in attacking the healthcare industry is the first step towards protecting your business and your patient records. The next step is to work with a trusted IT security consulting firm to solidify your IT security forces against current and future attacks. Intrinium delivers customized IT solutions that are tailored to the specific security needs of your business. An intricate understanding of cybercriminal attack patterns, combined with proven IT expertise in the healthcare sector, makes Intrinium the smart data security choice. Request a meeting with a member of the Intrinium team to begin protecting your business, employees, and patients today.