Cybersecurity in Healthcare – For and Before
Cybersecurity in Healthcare – For and Before
Cybersecurity in Healthcare – For and Before
Society's worst nightmare is already here, "Cyberattacks on the healthcare industry." The trend to target the healthcare industries kicked off back in 2015 but, it has been immensely prevalent ever since then. Some cynical attackers even call this their "Golden Goose."
This is indeed a worrisome trend to be in. Cybercriminals can target people all over the world thanks to the internet. Law enforcement is unable to prevent these attacks as they are limited by their jurisdiction. Often, criminals reside in countries that don't enforce laws from hostile nations.
As a result, these scammers often gain their foothold in loved ones’ lives via phishing, hacking, and other cybercrime tactics. Criminals having a backdoor into a life-care facility is a great danger. It puts the safety of everyone living in the home at risk.
Healthcare Cybersecurity incidents have dramatically surged over the years. This has been headline news almost every month in the United States. However, one can imagine the volume of impact on other continents of the world as well. The merciless cybercriminals target the technologies and innovation in Healthcare and pose a direct threat to human life.
Innovation in automation, data analytics, and interoperability is increasing. However, malicious vulnerabilities in these automated assets are also increasing. For example, consider a compromised ECG machine. Its purpose is to monitor your heart rate. However, it only shows altered readings to your doctor.
We will outline the top ten healthcare cybersecurity-related threats. These threats pose IT security risks and endanger healthcare assets and data.
- Ransomware threat: This one is every hacker's crime-to-fame favorite. Ransomware attacks are supremely sophisticated enough to kingpin many medical devices by encrypting them and bringing an entire nation down to its knees. Imagine a ransomware attack on some of the world's biggest organizations. These include Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, national hospitals, and the government's health department of a nation. This is the apocalypse! A majority of ransomware attacks encrypt confidential files. These files can disrupt business, steal private information, and misuse private assets like intellectual property codes or patents. The attackers then demand money in return for decrypting the files. A survey conducted by IT Security professionals in 2020 revealed that one in three healthcare organizations worldwide experienced a ransomware attack.
- Data exfiltration threat: Data exfiltration or data breach is one of the most common types of attack used to target health data. Unauthorized access to Personal Health Information (PHI) can occur when hackers pass through a company's network. They can then scan for sensitive information and exfiltrate it. Data breaches are usually classified into two broad categories: internal and external. Internal staff mistakes or insider attack incidents lead to internal data breaches. An exhaustive list of repercussions includes disclosure of sensitive data to unauthorized individuals and unauthorized privilege escalation. External attacks such as a malware injection can result in a more significant loss of confidential information.
- Phishing threat: Email attacks are the most prominent threat to any organization, and healthcare companies are no special. Data analytics in 2020 showed a 700 percent increase of malicious links sent to many hospitals via email. This resulted in a successful phishing attack on a major California hospital, according to a survey conducted by that organization. Due to the lack of staff's cybersecurity awareness and knowledge, there has been and very little focus on email protection. Hackers have been exploiting email-based attacks for many years. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to use fear and vulnerability to access user data. HIPPA reported that 58% of data breaches in the U.S. were successful in the last 12 months. The method used was phishing attacks.
- Insecure Cloud Applications: Cloud adoption has surged recently. The healthcare sector has taken advantage of this and adopted many of its assets to the cloud. However, healthcare cybersecurity in cloud infrastructure can be complex. No wonder misconfiguration of cloud components can cause a manufactured threat. Cloud adoption has increased significantly recently. The healthcare sector has taken advantage of this by transferring many of its assets to the cloud. API exposure to the internet can invite several risks. These include unauthorized code visibility, unauthorized access to data, and vulnerable network open ports. Unsecured cloud storage can quickly escalate to a vast data breach threatening the reputation of the healthcare organization. Cloud software is designed to store all kinds of data, but the risks come in handy with every cloud deployment. Third-party supply chain cloud applications must be secure. If not, hospitals may experience lengthy delays in receiving essential medications for their patients. Unsecured cloud storage can quickly escalate to a vast data breach threatening the reputation of the healthcare organization. Cloud software is designed to store all kinds of data, but the risks come in handy with every cloud deployment. Third-party supply chain cloud applications may not be secure enough. This could cause significant delays in hospitals receiving essential drugs for their patients.
- Vulnerable Internet of Things or IOT devices: Healthcare industries have widely adopted IoT devices to a large extent. These are specially used for most of their medical treatments. Many of these devices are directly connected and exposed to the internet for obvious reasons. But, first, embrace the use of data to improve patient outcomes. Many of these devices analyze patient conditions and their medical history that can be stored and retrieved from the cloud repository. Insufficient cybersecurity around IoT devices can pose significant threats. These threats extend beyond just monetary loss. They can even threaten human lives. Medical devices are vulnerable to cyber threats. Examples include remote patient monitoring, ingestible sensors, and robotic surgery devices.
- DDoS threat: Yet another prevalent and legacy attack threat type is Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS), a second to a phishing attack. This is also the most common type of threat that healthcare IT devices are prone to. Technological innovation has produced thousands of bad bots with immense popularity in artificial intelligence and machine learning. This trend has revolutionized how bad bots can cause collateral damage to medical devices and systems in the healthcare sector. Bad actors often access the organizational network through known vulnerabilities. They obtain privileged credentials and place malware on all critical devices. For example, bad bots overwhelm the appointment booking system by reserving all-time slots leaving no appointment slots for genuine patients
- Credential stuffing: Poor authentication is a major security risk for healthcare organizations. It's like leaving the front door open, inviting attacks at any time. Authentication is the first point of access for any organization. Unfortunately, it is also the most vulnerable spot for a hacker to gain access to the company's network. Organizations have focused on hi-tech authentication mechanisms, such as biometrics and facial recognition, for operation theatres and medical storage rooms. This has caused them to forget about more basic methods, such as usernames and passwords. Unfortunately, unless they're protected, the threat of an alleged authentication breach will always be on the rise.
- Bring your own device threats: Unlike IT organizations, enterprises in the healthcare sector do not invest time and effort in scrutinizing their endpoint cybersecurity posture. Removable devices play a pivotal role in sharing information at hospitals and other healthcare firms but at what cost? Business executives are not aware of the implications of using an unsafe USB drive loaded with trojans. Instead, personal IT devices are to be blamed (available devices from the visiting medical faculties). The use of such devices within a corporate network of a hospital can cause severe damage. Yes, this type of scenario is entirely plausible when a trojans resides in their network, unbeknownst to anyone. A cybersecurity services company recently conducted a survey. The survey revealed that mobile devices are almost as vulnerable as healthcare firms across the globe 93% of the time.
- Poor network security architecture design: An amateur network security architecture design can also pose a severe threat to the healthcare organization's business. Loosely coupled network security components can do no good for the company and the analysts even to control an attack on a targeted system. In addition, a naive network design can expose critical assets to the dark web, leading to a high amount of confidential data leakage at the network level. This can threaten all digital assets, financial and medical servers, such as database servers that hold records of multiple pharmaceutical companies that deliver their pharmaceutical supplies.
- Lack of sense of cyber awareness: Healthcare organizations often lack cybersecurity awareness. This can lead to a large number of human errors. These errors can become a major cause for concern. Additionally, since employees have easy access to intellectual proprietary information, they are the prime targets for all cybercriminals and hackers. The staff is not a threat. However, a lack of cybersecurity awareness can create an impersonation threat that can damage the organization. It can be used to intimidate other people in the firm or even blackmail for the umpteenth of reasons, mainly money. Threats can multiply in various departments. Examples include financial theft, the release of social security numbers unintentionally, the organization's credit card information, and even patient demographic information.
Good news for those working in life-care: cybersecurity is much simpler than in other industries. You can keep residents safe by following a few simple steps. This will help prevent disasters. In this age, gangs around the world are attacking vulnerable infrastructure. The burden of providing safety and security to protect life-care residents falls on Cybersecurity Consulting Experts and Practitioners.
fnCyber has the best practices offering Healthcare Cybersecurity Services and Strategies to keep institutions of life-care safe. fnCyber's tactics for protecting life-care residents from cybercrime are based on security engineering industry standards and benchmarks.
Tactic #1: Audit your facilities’ networks
Hire a firm that specializes in economic cybersecurity consulting services. They can help you identify any weaknesses in the IT Security Infrastructure, particularly the network defenses. Life-care threats often come from within. This happens when a resident falls victim to a phishing attack. Their computer is then used to scan and infect the rest of the network. The attack began spreading to other computers. It eventually infiltrated the facilities' machines and stole confidential data and financial details. This data was then used to commit fraud. To prevent this, you need to find and fix issues before attackers can. An IT Security Vulnerability Assessment and pen-testing exercise can give an accurate picture of the IT security posture. This information can be used to create a strategy and prevent any further issues. The basics are the most important here: aggressively keep any software used updated. Regularly scan the network for unrecognized devices and investigate abnormalities.
Hiring an entire security team is not necessary for this task. A Cybersecurity Expert or IT Security professional should be capable of completing it. This should be done regularly and periodically. Hiring a cybersecurity consulting services company specializing in life-care facilities can be beneficial. This is especially true if you manage multiple facilities or even a single large facility. A cybersecurity consultant can create a threat model tailored to the infrastructure. They can then work with the physical security team to ensure the safety of the residents from various types of attacks.
Tactic #2: Educate residents and families on basic self-protection
Life-care residents are attractive targets for cybercrime. Investing in cybersecurity awareness training is an excellent way to spread knowledge about healthcare cyber threats. Training them on staying safe online is also important. The primary sources of malicious infection in your network almost certainly begin with an infection from the residents’ computing devices. Unfortunately, some stressful residents and their families may not attend or benefit from such cybersecurity awareness campaigns, but a routine can prompt a better security understanding.
You can offer free IT Security help to residents. This help includes checking for malware and virus infections, recommending malicious software removal, and setting up basic protections. Examples of these protections are antivirus software and intrusion detection and protection configurations. Security practices help keep life-care residents in a healthcare facility safe enhancing the infrastructure security of the hospital. This is done by lowering the attack surface for the initial foothold an attacker uses to penetrate the internal network.
Tactic #3: Layered Defense Approach
Network segmentation is the first defensive measure. It separates the local network used by residents to access the internet from the network used by facility employees. This keeps the two networks entirely separate.
They should not share any data between them, and there should be no way for a computer in one network to access anything on the other network. This step is crucial. A small-time scammer targeting elderly life-care residents may infiltrate your facility's network. They could steal sensitive data or launch a ransomware attack. This attack could lock up and exfiltrate all your data. It is wise to separate individual facilities into their own networks. Additionally, a separate network should be established for company-wide communication and networking. Setting up a cybersecurity architecture like this may sound like a lot of work. However, it should be relatively easy for a knowledgeable cybersecurity expert. Alternatively, you could hire a cybersecurity services consultant to plan the entire project.
But the security in layers includes more than just physical network separations. Use the "principle of least privilege" to limit access to sensitive data. Perform periodic access reviews to ensure that employees only have access to data when needed and for the necessary duration. This will reduce the attack surface, keeping everyone safe from potential attacks. Finally, the Chief of operations should help devise a strategy for reviewing and revoking access to sensitive systems. The goal is to make it difficult for an attacker to gain access to your network. This will safeguard healthcare infrastructure and, more importantly, the people who rely on you for care. Life-care security should be a priority for facilities. Citizens have often targeted victims of financially-motivated crime, making this a key concern. But there are strategies for mitigating these issues more accessible to apply than other industries. In addition, just a minor change in the cybersecurity perspective can significantly improve the safety of residents and even their families.
The influence of cyber threats has certainly circumvented the field of Healthcare. Cyberattacks on healthcare organizations such as laboratories, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies have recently increased. This demonstrates that the healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to collateral damage. Technologies invented to save lives are now used against themselves. This includes unlimited mobile devices, financial accounts, and life-saving medical devices. Compromising these technologies puts lives at risk. The irony is that the industry leader and the governments are well aware of this heinous trend.
fnCyber has integrated Functional Cybersecurity into Healthcare to secure citizens' healthcare data and personal health information. Regaining trust in the nation's "healthcare system" is essential. fnCyber’s sane cyber security measures and realistic strategy promise safe and secure life care. The situation is certainly unique but not new. People's lives are at stake, not just fortunes. fnCyber opposes this crime and invests heavily in the best minds to protect medical science and care. We must safeguard the dignity of these vital services.
The first defensive measure is network segmentation, separating the local network used by residents to access the internet entirely from the network used by your facility’s employees. They should not share any data between them, and there should be no way for a computer in one network to access anything on the other network. This step is so crucial because a small-time scammer targeting elderly life-care residents could easily infiltrate your life-care facility’s network and steal sensitive data or even begin launching a full-scale ransomware attack against the entire business by locking up and likely exfiltrating all of your data. For the same motive, you’d be wise to separate individual facilities in their networks and have a distinct network for company-wide communication and networking. It sounds like much work, but setting up an architecture like this should be pretty straightforward for a competent cybersecurity expert or hire a cybersecurity consultant to plan the entire project.
But the security in layers includes more than just physical network separations. employ the “principle of least privilege” and periodic access review so that sensitive data isn’t accessible to employees unless they need it and only for the required duration lowering the attack surface and therefore keeps all concerned safer from attack. Finally, the Chief of operations should help devise a strategy for reviewing and revoking access to sensitive systems. The idea here is to make it as hard as possible for an attacker to plant a foothold in your network and prevent any harm to healthcare infrastructure, and most importantly, the residents who trust you with their care.
Life-care security should be a big priority for facilities, considering how often citizens are the targeted victims of scams of financially-motivated crime. But there are strategies for mitigating these issues more accessible to apply than other industries. In addition, just a minor change in cybersecurity perspective can significantly improve the safety of residents and even their families.
The influence of cyber threats has certainly circumvented the field of Healthcare. The recent cyberattacks on laboratories, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other healthcare organizations show that the healthcare industry is at the epitome of collateral damage. Unlimited mobile devices, financial accounts, life-saving medical devices, and last but not least, the same technologies that were invented to save lives are now used against itself by compromising them. The irony is that the industry leader and the governments are well aware of this heinous trend.
With that said, FnCyber has all the fundamentals of Functional Cybersecurity integrated into Healthcare to secure every citizen's healthcare data and personal health information and regain the trust in the nation's "healthcare system" is the need of the hour. FnCyber’s sane cyber security measures and a realistic strategy promise a safe and secure life-care. The situation is certainly unique but not new. When people's lives are at stake, and not just fortunes, FnCyber stands against this crime and invests heavily in the best and brightest of minds to safeguard the dignity of medical science and medical care as we know it.