Recent Cyber Attacks Refocus Healthcare Organizations on Cybersecurity

Posted on May 09, 2016

A spate of cybersecurity attacks on healthcare organizations have that industry becoming even more vigilant and increasing their cybersecurity awareness against hackers and cyber-attacks. In fact, according to the IBM X-Force Cyber Security Intelligence Index report, the healthcare industry has experienced more cyber-attacks than any other single industry, and more than one million records were compromised in the first half of 2015 alone. Why is this? According to a post on Information Week's, there are five main reasons:

Cybersecurity Awareness | Healthcare Organizations & Cybersecurity
  • Historically, healthcare systems are not particularly secure.
  • They're more willing to pay ransomware hackers because they can't let their system go down.
  • There's an awful lot of lucrative data contained in their systems.
  • The typical application-heavy setups provide many potential points of attack.
  • They prefer Windows and Internet Explorer, but are not always running the most up-to-date versions.

Check out these accounts of recent cyber-attacks on various medical facilities and healthcare organizations. Many of them were ransomware-related, a type of malware that locks up files and demands payment to unlock them:

  • A ransomware cyber-attack directed at specific Washington-area hospitals forced these facilities to shell out more than $17,000 to regain control of their sensitive files.
  • Another hospital in Henderson, Kentucky, was the target of a ransomware attack. The hospital had to declare an internal emergency when the cyber-attack compromised hospital staff members' ability to electronically access web-based services.
  • A not-for-profit healthcare organization located in Columbia, Maryland had to temporarily cease operations of its computer networks in order to halt the spread of what it called a "malicious malware attack."
  • The Los Angeles County health department discovered evidence of ransomware on five of its computers.
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified cybersecurity weaknesses in three state health insurance websites; California, Kentucky, and Vermont.

All of these incidents, and sadly, many more, have caused healthcare organizations everywhere to take a harder look at their computer systems, networks, and protocols as they seek to enhance their digital security. And the additional layer of complexity caused by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, intended ironically to keep patient data safe, means that healthcare organizations must carefully navigate any path they take.

So, how safe is your healthcare network? Are you ready for the next cyber-attack? Fortunately, NC4 can help. Call us today at 1-877-624-4999 to discuss cybersecurity awareness and solutions that are specifically tailored to the healthcare industry.

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