Posted on Aug 19, 2017

Healthcare Companies Stay Alert to Cyber-Attacks

As the number of cyber-attacks has increased, companies in the healthcare industry are working to keep up with the dynamic cybersecurity landscape. But with an estimated 4.5 million records healthcare records exposed last year, the healthcare industry’s efforts are still no match for hackers.

While building cybersecurity hygiene is a struggle that every industry is experiencing today, it’s an endeavor that is arguably more important for healthcare than some other industries. Aside from the plethora of regulations around health data, a breach of health-related data comes with its own unique complications and can result in longer term issues than, for example, a compromised credit card that can be easily cancelled.  

What Healthcare Companies Face:

  • Patient information sells easily on the black market. Hackers can sell patient information containing social security numbers and other protected health information for as much as 50 dollars per record when compared to credit card information which may only sell for as little as a dollar.  
  • Medicare and private insurer scams are on the rise. Besides selling the sensitive data itself, hackers can use stolen healthcare data to fraudulently bill health insurers, get free health consultations, and even get prescription drugs that they may in turn sell.
  • Ransomware is a continuing threat. Ransomware is continuing to be a dominant form of cyber-attack in the healthcare industry. Hackers who don’t sell the data to third parties are sometimes simply looking to hold it hostage and demand that the attacked company pay to restore the company’s operations.

Tips for Healthcare Companies Combating Hackers

Invest in Building the Right Strategy. Quality investments in strategy and planning can help avoid losses from attacks. It’s important to invest in tools that provide visibility and help in building a risk management program, instead of investing in tools that just solve one unique problem.

Share Information. Sharing information about attacks is something that can help companies in any industry stay on top of threats. Sharing information across different industries can be especially helpful with hackers increasingly targeting weak links in the supply chain that service many industries.

Use Your Best Asset. If employees within organizations become more educated on and alert to potential cybersecurity risks, they can play an important role in prevention. This in turn adds another layer of defense and can help avoid costly security breaches.

References:

https://www.uscybervault.com/blog/2016/8/4/5-trends-afflicting-healthcare-cybersecurity-today

https://www.inc.com/joseph-steinberg/new-cybersecurity-report-highlights-some-surprising-trends.html

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