Cyber Security: the Key to Safer Healthcare
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help young learners and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Healthcare data is highly sought-after on the dark web, with a single record fetching up to $1,000. As such, any cyberattack that damages this sector and its patients could have significant repercussions.
A robust defense-in-depth approach to security can protect data and systems while mitigating the effects of cyberattacks. This includes having an effective incident response plan in place that quickly addresses attacks when they occur.
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Medical devices play a significant role in healthcare and disease management, from syringes and wheelchairs to cardiac pacemakers and in vitro diagnostics (IVDs). These instruments can be employed to prevent, detect, or treat illnesses.
Unfortunately, medical devices are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and, if compromised, can cause severe harm to patients. Hackers typically attempt to gain access to these devices in order to steal patient information or sell the item on the black market.
For years, the FDA has been actively working to enhance medical device cybersecurity. In 2018, they released a “cyber security playbook” as an aid for healthcare providers to safeguard their technologies. The guide includes several safety messages and encourages all manufacturers in both healthcare and medical device industries to report any cyber security incidents they come across.
According to the FDA, cybersecurity attacks on medical devices have been on the rise. And while they have taken steps to mitigate this threat, more work needs to be done in order to guarantee patient safety.
A major challenge when it comes to cybersecurity for medical devices is that they often are not permanently connected to a wide network and, therefore, cannot be protected by traditional IT security measures like firewalls, antivirus, or intrusion detection systems. If the device becomes compromised, patching and regaining control of the system could prove challenging.
Therefore, security must be taken into account throughout the development process of a device. To address this, the International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) is working to develop global standards for medical device cybersecurity.
The IMDRF has been working with industry and regulatory organizations to create guidance documents that guarantee the safety of medical devices. These standards are based on GHTF guidelines, creating a common set of rules for all parties involved in developing these medical products.
Developing a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity for medical devices is challenging and necessitates taking an integrated view of their environment. This paper takes a conceptual approach, outlining how cybersecurity vulnerabilities impact the safety and performance of these devices. It then looks at how these issues can be addressed from a systemic perspective – not just technical ones.
The healthcare sector is considered a critical infrastructure and needs to be safeguarded from cyber threats. Without security measures in place, organizations in this industry could face serious repercussions such as data exposure or disruption of operations.
To reduce these risks, the healthcare industry has implemented cybersecurity measures and protocols. These include training employees on best practices for security, as well as installing robust cybersecurity software and systems. Moreover, healthcare organizations collaborate closely with external partners to guarantee their protection from cyber threats.
As cybersecurity continues to be a top priority in healthcare, it is essential that the industry takes the necessary precautions. Doing so can reduce risks and safeguard patient data.
Though the healthcare industry has made progress in improving security, it still faces a long way from being fully protected against cyberattacks. To keep patients secure, the industry must collaborate with external partners to guarantee its information systems remain secure and staff can operate efficiently and securely.
For instance, the Health Sector Coordinating Council (HSCC) works in collaboration with government agencies to identify and address systemic cybersecurity threats within the healthcare industry. These risks have a profound effect on patients as well as members of the public at large.
The HSCC has formed several working groups that will enable healthcare sector companies to better address cybersecurity threats. These teams focus on key areas such as COVID-19 response coordination, telemedicine security, and supply chain vulnerabilities.
In addition, the HSCC has a cybersecurity working group that assesses the security posture of various entities within the healthcare sector. This enables them to pinpoint the most pressing concerns and take proactive measures for remediation.
It is essential to remember that while collaborative working can be highly productive, it also leads to inefficiencies and stress in the workplace. Therefore, be aware of how much time your employees spend attending meetings and whether they really need to attend them.
Effective management of collaborative work will guarantee all employees have a voice in the project or company, and it also keeps employees motivated and engaged. To do this, managers should take into account factors like:
Access to information is a vital aspect of cybersecurity healthcare, so it’s essential that healthcare organizations implement effective access controls. This may involve using technology like two-factor authentication and complex password requirements so that only those with the necessary authority and permission can view data.
Technology can also help cut costs, boost efficiency, and provide better services to patients. Telemedicine platforms and secure messaging systems, for instance, make it simpler for patients to connect with doctors online.
However, it’s essential to be aware that not everyone has access to modern technologies – this is known as the digital divide. This divide is caused by age, income, gender, and disability.
Maintaining cybersecurity for organizations can be a challenge. Furthermore, healthcare organizations with legacy systems that haven’t been upgraded may become targets of hackers looking for an opportunity to access patient data.
Hackers can infiltrate a healthcare organization through its supply chain. For instance, an HVAC vendor may possess credentials that allow them to break into a hospital’s computer system. Furthermore, these vendors may provide malicious malware in order for these agents to infect hospital computers.
Phishing Attacks: Links or attachments in phishing emails, social media posts, or text messages can infect a healthcare organization’s computer system and spread throughout its entire network. In many cases, these cyberattacks are conducted for financial gain.
Medical Identity Theft: These hackers take patient data and submit fraudulent claims to insurance companies, disrupting healthcare services and costing taxpayers money. In some cases, they may even demand a ransom in order to restore patient data.
Other Types of Insider Misuse: Employees can unwittingly grant unauthorized access to sensitive data. For instance, if a physician mistypes a patient’s personal information into an electronic health record (EHR), this could result in a data breach. Other examples of insider misconduct include unintentional mistakes like clicking on suspicious emails or links leading to malicious websites.
The right to information is an international human rights principle that guarantees citizens their health and well-being. But to realize this right, political will and government support are needed. That’s why creating comprehensive access to information legislation that meets international standards is so crucial; not only will this promote transparency, but also reduce corruption.
Cyber security is a paramount concern in healthcare, as it involves sensitive data and patient safety. Unfortunately, the industry has become an attractive target for hackers in recent years, and many breaches have taken place, with costly consequences to providers.
Healthcare organizations must take a variety of measures to safeguard patient data, from digital hygiene practices and strong passwords to advanced encryption techniques like homomorphic encryption or secure multiparty computation (SMC). These steps can reduce the risks of unauthorized access to patient information as well as avoid ransomware attacks.
One of the most essential security measures for a cyber security strategy is having an experienced chief information security officer on staff who oversees all cybersecurity efforts. This individual can offer strategic direction and make decisions regarding how best to tackle security challenges.
Another crucial component of a successful cybersecurity strategy is making sure all employees understand the significance of upholding security standards. This can be accomplished through regular training sessions and motivating them to keep their devices and personal accounts secure.
Risk-based authentication on all devices is a necessary measure to guarantee that only authorized personnel have access to patient data. This method minimizes the chance of compromised devices gaining access by automatically setting user permissions based on factors like location and more.
Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions give users easy access to all the software and applications they require with just one set of credentials, providing a convenient experience while also offering adequate protection from online threats. IT staff will spend less time checking user statuses and more time working on other tasks due to this approach.
By doing so, healthcare organizations can focus on improving care and avoiding a breach. The more C-suite executives and senior management recognize cybersecurity as an enterprise problem that needs their assistance, the higher their chances are of implementing successful mitigation strategies to safeguard patient data. Doing so helps healthcare organizations reduce costs, boost efficiencies, and enhance patient experience.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.