The health care industry has evolved for the better thanks to the latest technology that streamlines everything from clerical tasks to patient care. However, along with new technology comes new risks. Health care cyber security threats are real and are evolving at a terrifying pace.
Health Care’s Cyber Security Problem
In general, the health care industry has a massive cyber security problem. This is due in large part to the increasing complexity of technological systems in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Tablets, computers and other devices are used for nearly every function in a health care organization, so a breach can quite literally put people’s lives in danger.
On top of that, many hospitals don’t have cyber security departments or they are underfunded. This makes it even more difficult to ensure that technology is utilized in a way that adequately protects patients’ health and sensitive data.
4 Major Health Care Cyber Security Threats
The health care industry has been one of the main targets of ransomware attacks for several years. One of the reasons that ransomware is such a prevalent cyberattack is that it mainly infects businesses due to employee negligence.
Most ransomware infections occur after someone who’s connected to the network clicks on a malicious email attachment or link. One simple click can result in the whole network being held ransom.
2. Data Breaches
Data breaches, whether due to employee negligence or outdated cyber security systems, are among the costliest health care cyber security threats. Health IT Security created a list of the 10 biggest health care data breaches in the United States in 2018, and the number of people affected is simply astounding.
Since it takes the average American company 206 days to detect a data breach, it’s crucial for health care organizations to have measures such as antiviruses, behavior monitoring and intrusion prevention systems in place.
3. Bring Your Own Device
It’s becoming more and more common for doctors, nurses and other types of health care workers to use their own devices to improve communication and productivity.
However, while employees using their own devices has numerous benefits for most organizations, personal devices can add even more endpoints through which a cyberattack can occur.
Health care organizations must adopt comprehensive bring your own device (BYOD) policies that present a full strategy in order to keep employees’ devices secure.
4. Outdated Software
Many health care organizations are eager to adopt the latest and greatest technology because of its potential to revolutionize patient care. Unfortunately, this eagerness is often misguided. New technology is adopted while existing technology, while still used, is neglected and doesn’t receive maintenance. It then becomes outdated and more vulnerable over time.
Even in 2017, there were far too many health care organizations using Windows XP, which has been highly vulnerable since it reached end of life in 2014.
In January 2020, numerous hugely popular Microsoft programs will reach end of life, including Windows 7, Server 2008 and Exchange 2010. Organizations that neglect to update their software before then will face enormous cyber security risks.
Clearly, these four health care cyber security threats can cause serious harm to one of the world’s most important sectors. It’s crucial for organizations, regardless of their size, to have a cyber security division in place.