Data Breaches in the Healthcare Sector
July 06, 2021
Information is even more valuable than you might think… Hackers broke into the network of a major London surgical clinic in 2017. The records held information on high-status customers with photos, medical records, addresses, and even financial information that could easily be used for fraud, stalking, and harassment.
Medical cyber-security isn’t as strong as in banking or other industries. This makes hospitals a target for hackers and many were compromised almost a month later.
Hackers can gain a lot from accessing medical facilities and patient information. Hospitals and healthcare providers hold highly sensitive and confidential personal information. Patient data is valuable on the black market. Attackers can also demand massive sums to unlock hospital computer systems, as hospitals have to resume operations fast to protect lives.
Patient history violations nearly tripled during a single year, from 5.5 million records in 2017 to 15 million in 2018. The number has risen further during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The technology manager for Great Plains Health in North Platte in the United States, a hospital serving 183,000 patients a month, calculates that each day there are 10,000 attempted hacks. After the first coronavirus antibody drug was used last November, attempts soared to 70,000 daily to steal vaccine-related research. As many as 83% of internet-connected medical devices, such as mammograms and MRI machines, are vulnerable to malware and ransomware attacks. If the machine's operating system is not updated to the latest version, hackers can easily infiltrate and disrupt the hospital network. Systems have to keep pace with the hackers or attacks will likely increase.
Implications for the future:
Increased risk of cyber-attacks to all health organizations. Telemedicine treatment and medical IoT devices pose further risks as more and more medical devices are connected to the internet. Cyber-crime will have a huge impact on many patients. Healthcare organizations must find ways to maintain the highest levels of data security. Teams should be developed to deal with security risks. White-hat hackers can become data defenders to ensure confidential information is safe.
Credit: The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Get Referral MD