Healthcare and hospital systems are under siege by cyber criminals. Since the coronavirus emerged in the US, these organizations have endured a 150% increase in cyber attacks.

A major US healthcare system recently enacted EHR downtime procedures after falling victim to a ransomware related ruse. A string of strikes has shut down an array of health focused organizations across the past few months, affecting over 60 providers and more than 500 individual building units.

It’s not only major healthcare and hospital systems that are targets. Earlier this year, a family-run cosmetic dentistry practice endured a ransomware attack that impacted the credentials of 10,759 patients. All patients received notification, but social security numbers were compromised.

What are top cyber security issues facing healthcare and hospital groups?

  • Outdated equipment. Reliance on machines or products that are incompatible with current software systems and modern security.
  • Millions of insecure or under-secured IoMT devices. These range from insulin pumps to heart monitors to defibrillators.
  • Mobile endpoints. Mobile devices can solve patient problems, ranging from telehealth care to monitoring IoT connected implants, but only if they’re secure.

Why are cyber criminals interested in medical data? 

Medical data often includes financial details, insurance information and social security numbers. This information can be sold on the dark web. Criminals purchase it in order to impersonate the ill and to collect their social benefits, among other exploitative uses of the information.

Can healthcare and hospital groups really mitigate and contain cyber attacks?

Yes, it is possible for organizations to implement effective mitigation and containment strategies. Data backups, knowledgeable employees and strong  IT-based cyber safeguards can help.

In a real-world example, this past spring, the University Hospital in the Czech city of Brno experienced a ransomware attack. The head nurse kept employees informed by using his personal hotspot tethered to his mobile device and the IT measures in place contained the attack. Computers were ultimately restored to normal functionality.

Improve your organization’s cyber security posture today. For more information on cyber viruses and healthcare, check out our latest ransomware solutions brief. Also, be sure to visit Cyber Talk’s whitepapers section.