The COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to increase our online activity. More online activity means more data is being collected, stored, and shared online. Breaches in online security have increased in general because of the amount and accessibility of this data.
Cyberattacks on hospitals and health institutions specifically are also growing around the world. The healthcare industry is a gold mine for cybercriminals because, if successful, they get their hands on personal information like social security numbers, health records, prescription information, addresses, phone numbers, and so on.
The healthcare industry relies more and more on things like electronic health records, cloud storage, and healthcare technology to increase efficiency and adapt to a newly remote world. Trusting digital tools to house and protect patient information increases the chance of encountering a cybersecurity threat.
We must be familiar with the most prominent online security threats in the healthcare industry and protect ourselves from them. Let’s look at three online security threats, how to guard against them, and what the healthcare industry is doing to ensure patient information is secure.
Three Online Security Threats and How to Guard Against Them
Health care organizations’ are increasing their use of digital systems to store, access, and transfer highly sensitive data. Healthcare data must not be stored without proper protective measures in place.
Employing protective measures such as encryption, two-factor authentication, capable backup storage methods, or recovery solutions to guard against data being lost in a system failure ensures you’re taking the rights steps to protect your organization from a data breach.
Here are three pertinent online security threats in the healthcare industry and how to guard against them.
Malware is malicious software such as spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms downloaded on your device by clicking a link, attachment, or button. Once malware is activated, it can make your system inoperable, block access to networks, transmit data to another device, and track the actions you take on your device day-to-day.
Hackers are sophisticated enough to move across healthcare networks in disguise using malware. They’re also taking their efforts a step further, using the accessed data to reach out to victims via phone for more information or money.
To protect your healthcare organization from malware, implement a robust security solution with top-tier databases to protect patient data from possible threats. You should be diligent about using encryption services so that even if data is stolen, it won’t be usable by cybercriminals.
Cyberthieves deployed a range of phishing campaigns in the healthcare industry to gain access to their networks. The point of phishing is to trick a person into giving up private information so scammers can use it to carry out crimes like identity theft.
Phishing attacks are usually carried out via email, using a template that looks legit if you aren’t paying attention to the details. Cybercriminals are looking to steal patient information and valuable industry data related to vaccines, treatments, and new technology.
To prevent any phishing attacks, your staff must partake in cybersecurity awareness training. This training should cover:
- The most popular cybersecurity attacks like phishing.
- How to pay attention to details in these attacks.
- What to do when they think a threat is present.
- Account and password management.
- Best practices for using company email.
- The ins and outs of email security.
- Responsible web browsing.
Software developers regularly release updates for their applications. These updates usually address any issues with security and functionality since the last update. Without the updates, you’re running software with vulnerabilities and loopholes known by hackers, making it easier for them to infiltrate your system.
To protect your organization from cybersecurity threats prompted by outdated software, you should:
- Set up your system for automatic system checks and application of necessary updates.
- Install all security updates as soon as they appear despite scheduled updates.
- Set up calendar reminders to ensure your updates are executed as planned.
What the Healthcare Industry is Doing to Ensure Security
Collecting, analyzing, storing, and leveraging healthcare data impacts how we can offer accessible, high-quality healthcare experiences to everyone. High-quality, easily understood actionable data helps healthcare professionals create personalized patient plans, better technology, and efficient workplace policies.
Because of this increase in data collection, storage, and usage on digital platforms, there are more opportunities to exploit weak spots in how diligent healthcare facilities are with patient and company information.
The healthcare industry conducts frequent audits to ensure organizations perform required risk assessments and employ solid risk management processes.
External cybersecurity experts and forensic teams are invited into different medical facilities to advise and support leaders in their efforts to ensure patient and company information security. They’re also implementing the latest and greatest cyber-security technologies to ensure patient care continues to be the foremost priority, not data breach cleanups.
Healthcare providers and the industry realize how important it is to defend their networks from online security threats adequately.
Become knowledgeable in the most prominent online security threats presented in the healthcare industry. Implement any suggestions that will help you prevent an attack, contain one if it does happen, investigate how it happened, and effectively implement any remedies.