Know why healthcare sector is the biggest target for cyber criminals

14th December 2018 | admin

Since past few years, the global healthcare sector has been a popular target for cyber thieves & hackers. According to Raytheon|Websense Security Labs 2015 Healthcare Drill-Down, the healthcare industry has experienced 340% more information security incidents as well as attacks than other industries. The report also said that patient information was found to be 10 times more valuable on the black market.

Now the question comes that why healthcare organizations are becoming a juicy target of cyber crimes, particularly ransomware attack? The answer is simple. Since healthcare organisations hold huge amount of highly valuable data such as health insurance information, social security numbers, payment information, etc and have highly critical systems, any downtime can have a serious impact. As such, cyber criminals are realising they can demand a very high ransom amount from these types of healthcare organisations.

Another reason why healthcare industries are a good target of cyber crimes is that healthcare organizations don’t focus much on cyber security.

According to a survey conducted by the healthcare sector, it has been found that healthcare industry had one of the lowest rates of data encryption. Only 31% of healthcare organizations have reported extensive use of encryption, while 20% organizations said that they don’t use encryption at all.

Healthcare providers of Australia paid serious attention when last year Melbourne Health was hit by a new variant of the Qbot malware which infected Windows XP computers through Royal Melbourne Hospital’s pathology department.

Here are some recommendations given by HealthIT.gov on how to protect healthcare sector from cyber attacks:

  • Employees must protect their mobile devices in order to prevent data loss, either as a result of unsecured wireless transmission, unauthorized viewing or stolen devices.
  • Healthcare organizations must establish a security culture among employees.
  • Maintaining good computer habits is a must. It is important to remove software that is no longer in use, update software to the latest versions, as well as perform routine maintenance.
  • There should be a firewall in order to protect against intrusions as well as threats from outside sources.
  • It is important to install and maintain an effective anti-virus Software.
  • It is better to expect the unexpected and therefore regularly back up data.
  • HealthIT.gov suggests having an “access control system” in place to assign user rights & permissions.
  • Using strong passwords as well as changing them on a regular basis is must.

Conclusion

Cyber-criminals are continually trying to find more and more creative ways to steal crucial data– as well as identify spaces where it is relatively easy to do this. Sadly, as healthcare organizations are not doing enough in order to prevent cyber crimes, cyber criminals are getting more and more encouraged. As a result of this, healthcare organizations are increasingly falling victim to cyber attack. It is therefore now more crucial than ever for the healthcare organizations to work closely with its IT as well as security providers to focus more on cyber security & give more priority to the protection of patient data.

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