The Healthcare industry happens to be the most attacked sector of all industries in 2015 by cybercriminals, according to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Report. It’s estimated by the Department of Health and Human Services that hackers accessed over 100 million health records in America. Personal information from health records has become the target of thieves not only for its ransom value, but for the lucrative business of selling it on the black market. The skyrocketing incidences of security breaches within the healthcare industry is mainly due to the industry being unaware of its vulnerabilities to cyberattacks, which keeps health record data in the cybercrime spotlight.
Why health records and not credit cards? Health record data is the one-stop jackpot of information which most often includes credit card information, email addresses, social security numbers, employment information, and medical history records, all of which can be used for phishing or other activities, or to commit fraud by stealing medical identities. Once cyber thieves have patients’ personal information, certain data types go for a specific price on the global black market. A stolen credit card is quickly discovered and cancelled; however, health record data has longevity. Much of the information is non-changing; therefore, it holds its value on the black market.
As advancing technology supports an expanding Healthcare industry, new channels of risks are created within organizations’ networks. For instance, medical devices are increasingly connected to networks – many of which are without security controls. Medical device manufacturers are not mandated to develop cyber security features in their products. Many federal agencies have issued warnings on the risks and security of medical devices. As these devices are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), even our bodies could potentially become the target of hackers.
What’s the solution? Healthcare related organizations must move from a reactive to a proactive approach to cyber security and invest in an ongoing risk-management program to keep their networks as secure as possible. While even the most secure networks can have a breach, organizations that establish an internet security plan for their network and implement training with employees to spot internet security events, avert most of the daily threats lurking in the shadows of cyberspace.
Be Proactive. Be Vigilant.
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