Do you know how cybersecurity threats are torturing your health? Yes, they are a threat to your health as well. You might be surprised to know that cybercrime has increased in healthcare organizations also. Like any other organization, healthcare organizations are also facing threats of cyberbullying.
Have you ever been to the record roo of a hospital? Or have you ever seen the record room of a hospital? Maybe if you are a staff member or a doctor, then you may have but have a patient or any other visitor to the hospital ever seen the record room? I think the answer is no.
You are not allowed in the record rooms of a hospital because the information kept there is pretty confidential. This is personal info of all the patients, and hence it could not be leaked. So anyone who is not a part of the staff is not allowed access to these records except those who need it for the treatment of the patient.
These records may harm the patient in many ways if they get in the hands of any wrong person. And cybercrime increasing these days in healthcare organizations are penetrating and violating these records. Hackers might try to get in the records and use it for their benefit. It is a big concern as the life of the patients is at risk in this case.
Some cybersecurity threats in healthcare organizations:
Many hackers are roaming around in search of organization which may have mishaps in their systems so that they can penetrate them and find the information which may help them. Some of the threats of cybersecurity that may harm the healthcare organization are given as under:
- Threat entry points
- Ransomware attacks
- Cryptojacking attacks
- IoT healthcare attacks
- Healthcare supply chain attacks
1- Threat entry point:
The attacks which the hackers appoint to attack the patient’s data is the threat entry point. These are the vulnerabilities in which the hacker injects malware into the systems of the computers and other devices used in a hospital.
This kind of issue arises due to the mistake of an insider. That means when a staff member makes a mistake then this kind of errors may show up. When any insider clicks on an unknown file that may be injected with malware the whole system is affected. This way the information and data regarding any patient may reach the hacker, and he might use it against that patient for any reason.
2- Ransomware attacks
These kinds of attacks most generally happen for the reason of ransom money. The hacker does this to get money from the user by using his/her records against him/her. This also includes the injection of malware in the system of any healthcare organization.
Then the malware may lock any one computer in the organization or even more than one. In fact, it can even lock the whole system up. In exchange for the data, the hacker might ask the hospitals or government (If it is a famous hospital or is run by the government) to pay some. This is very risky as no one knows that even after giving the money the hacker would return the full data and not keep any copies or might not try to hack again.
3- Cryptojacking attacks
This is one of the deadliest kinds of attacks in healthcare organizations. In the previous year 2018, this exceeded the list of threats to number one, beating ransomware as well. This involves the mining of data which means that mining software can be installed on the medical devices.
These kinds of malwares and mining software are very harmful because the more time the system remains open and the device is unlocked, the cybercriminals inject more mines into the system. So the working staff may not know that the device is on and may have turned it on like that for some time and in that meantime, the mines may be injected in the systems to the fullest.
4- IoT healthcare attacks
Another severely dangerous attack is the IoT healthcare attack. This basically happens because of error in IoT. In these attacks, a hacker can trick anyone into sharing medical devices. Hence they can use these shared medical devices against the healthcare organizations or the patient for their own benefit and profit.
The reason for such of attack to happen is that the system may not have been updated for long. That means that when a system is not upgraded for a long time, then it can be easy to trick anyone gets into it and shares the information and data.
5- Healthcare supply chain attacks
These kinds of attacks happen when cybercriminals capture a delivery from a provider and inject malicious encryption directly into the medical devices. This means any company or source through which medical devices are brought can be fooled to share the device they are supplying to the hospitals.
What happens is that hacker tries to look for back doors in the systems of any source (which may include business partners, suppliers). This way they can easily interlope and inject malware in the system without anyone actually knowing who did it.
How healthcare organizations can solve cybersecurity threats?
All the problems and attacks mentioned above can be quickly resolved if specific precautionary and preventive measures are taken. We can fight the attacks and defend the healthcare organizations from trapping into the tricks of the hackers, by the following ways:
1. By education:
It is imperative that we keep the staff in healthcare organizations educated. This means that we should only hire the staff that is allegeable and competent to work in a healthcare organization and that they are educated in the given field. The government should keep a proper education system. Also, a complete test should be taken before appointing anyone in the association.
2. Providing training:
After the education of staff, it is also very crucial that the staff is also trained. This is different from being educated as in education; they only learn what they should do or should not do. But, while training they will understand every process practically. They will gain experience before starting work, and this would minimize the chances of mistakes.
3. updating machines:
Another essential method to protect the organization’s data breaching is by continually updating the machinery used in medical The medical devices may be very old and may need to be renewed, or may need upgrading. By doing so, we can create barriers and walls between the hackers and the data of the patients. Thus keeping it safe.
4. using cloud data backups:
An effortless way to protect your data is by using cloud data backups. It is a very easy way as it duplicates the information over the Internet to the service’s servers, proposes the safety of off-site storage for the most necessary files, along with a simple, one time set up programming. Hence it can provide security more than any other method.
5. By informing the medical IT team immediately:
Another significant way of ignoring such kind of attacks is that the medical IT team should be at alert all the time. As soon as any medical device gets attacked by malware, especially in case of ransomware attacks, you should directly inform the IT team. That is because in such cases you do not have surety that the attacker might leave the data after payment of ransom. So, it is better to inform the IT team.
6. By reminding staff of training regularly:
It is not necessary that once trained; the staff will always remember the full training. They might forget some critical parts of it, especially the ones regarding security. So it is also essential to keep reminding them of the rules and practices that they have to keep up while doing their jobs. This way they would not make mistakes at all.
7. limiting data access:
It is an important step that not everyone is working in the hospital have access to the data. For example, the doctors coming from outside, i.e., the external doctors should only be provided with the case history of the particular patient they are treating and not of all the patients. Similarly, not every nurse or ward boy should have access to this data.
8. having a crisis management plan from before:
A way to stop this attack from happening at all in the first place is by being prepared from before only for such kinds of attacks. We can do so by having a crisis management plan ready all the time. By a crisis management plan, we can set plans for situations of crises such as hacking and attacks on the data of medical devices. This way the patient’s data will be saved from the first place only.
9. using secure internet network:
Last but not least, it is vital that we have a reliable internet network. IT should be trustworthy in keeping all the information and should be so strong so that no one can penetrate it easily. This way also you can stop the hackers from attacking in the first place only. So they would never have any access to the data provided by the patients. Hence, the info remains confidential.
Our medical system is essential to save the lives of people, and if it is not safe from attackers, then we must immediately take steps to stop these attacks. Hence, above are the given ways to prevent these hacking attacks in the healthcare sector, and if we follow them, we can keep the safety of data breaching.