As the health care industry works incessantly toward offering life-critical services to improve quality of life. Undercover cyber criminals always have an eye on the data produced in this sector. While the healthcare industry aims to streamline healthcare facilities with the help of data, cyber threat actors are ready to exploit vulnerabilities attached to the system.

 As per reports by a Cyber Security Intelligence Index by IBM, the year 2015 witnessed data breach of over 100 million healthcare records, from 8,000+ devices in more than 100 countries.

Well, this piece of information is shocking, and at the same time, unveils the ugly truth about the healthcare sector being on the radar of hackers. And not to miss, such cybersecurity issues bring about the threat of severe financial and reputational impact on hospitals and other healthcare establishments.

Introduction to cybersecurity threat in the healthcare sector

Cybersecurity is a growing concern as security incidents are growing at a steady rate. In the last few years, the health industry has struggled to guard their network boundary to control destruction by cybercriminals with the proliferation of IoT and connected medical devices. Along with this, the attack density is growing with the introduction to more sophisticated tools and newer attack techniques targeting healthcare organizations to gain and hold data to ransom.

Additionally, the repercussions are getting severe (a) because of the stringent cybersecurity budget and (b) because of a lagged and slow response by the sector toward such attacks.

Another horrifying truth is the increase in real-time numbers. In 2015, the health care industry experienced a massive loss, and the statistics in 2017 are record-breaking. And now, as 2019 is coming to an end, the healthcare sector needs to be more vigilant about the cybersecurity trends that can have devastating effects.

Outlined below are top 5 healthcare security trends for 2019 and beyond:

  1. Ransomware
  2. IoT attacks
  3. Foreign attacks
  4. AI-based threats
  5. Adware

Cyber Security challenges faced by the healthcare industry

Patient records are the most profitable assets present on the dark web, even more than your bank account details. Yes, you got that absolutely right. Getting sold for as much as $1,000 each, hackers find more potential in hacking hospital data compared to the account details. And the invention of newer techniques and superior tools leaves several loopholes in healthcare cybersecurity. To get a detailed idea about this, I highly recommend you have a look at the blog published on “Data Security for Healthcare Industry—Still Full of Holes.”

What you can do: cybersecurity best practices

Healthcare cyber-attacks are real and not a joke. Numbers from 2018 look scarier than the previous years, with a damage score of $3.62 million.

Here is the compiled list of best practices that can save healthcare institutions from cyber-attacks and breaches.

So, let’s get started!

  • The four-step cybersecurity protocol

The best way to do well until the end is by starting with the basics.

  1. Patch your devices reliably.
  2. Update software and hardware on a regular basis.
  3. Implement strong proximity controls for systems that cannot be replaced.
  4. Replace older systems that can no longer be patched or updated.
  •  Establish a security culture

Starting from the massive attack in 2015, the threat of cyberattack on the healthcare system is increasing at a considerable rate. Keeping this in mind, it is time to train and educate every member involved in dealing with and handling patient data. And the best way to do this is by establishing a security culture in the institution. It is time to share the load and make every person involved responsible for protecting data related to patients and their medical condition.

  • Shield mobile devices

The increase in the number and usage of mobile phone devices is a big cause of worry. So, in order to ensure protection of data, encryption and other protective measures are a must.

  • Never compromise on firewall

Let me get this straight. To protect data from secretly performing cyber threat actors, having a firewall for anything connected to the internet is a must.

  • Follow good computer habits

This might sound very basic, but it does the job right. And to leave no room for doubt, including training sessions on best practices for computer use is highly recommended.

  • Installation & maintenance of anti-virus software

Installing an anti-virus based on the need of your system is just the beginning. Timely updates are essential to ensure that the healthcare system maintains high-quality protection at any given point in time.

  • Controlled access

Data related to health is highly sensitive. Therefore, access should only be granted to a limited set of people.

  • Maintain strong passwords and change them regularly

As per a report by Version, 63% of data breaches took place because of weak, default, or stolen passwords. Therefore, healthcare employees should make use of strong passwords and change them regularly.

Health care data professionals must continually develop newer strategies and best practices to safeguard sensitive data. In addition to the above best practices, data protection in healthcare institutions, among healthcare professionals, and patients can shield from any kind of financial or other forms of damage.

The Conclusion

May 2017 was a dark period for the healthcare industry when a worldwide cyberattack by WannaCry ransomware targeted and wreaked severe damages to the healthcare system. Spread across more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, the attack cost companies over billions. To not let this happen again, a proactive approach toward every changing cybersecurity risks is a must.

So, if you want to keep yourself updated with what’s happening in the tech world in terms of cybersecurity, we highly recommend you to download IT security whitepapers by industry experts right here!