Telehealth, the use of digital technologies such as computers and mobile devices to access health care services remotely, has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. Health professionals are making use of technology to deliver services and care for patients. As a result, healthcare organizations are becoming increasingly susceptible to cyberattacks, threatening and compromising confidential patient data.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the healthcare industry, which is a $1.2 trillion sector, will fall victim to two to three times more cyberattacks in 2021 than the average numbers for other industries. Black Book Market Research stated that “more than 93 percent of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach over the past three years, and 57 percent have had more than five data breaches during the same time frame.”
With statistics like that, one can conclude that the healthcare industry is under attack. There are many reasons why healthcare organizations are a target for cyber-attacks. It is therefore imperative that organizations and patients alike, are made aware of some reasons why.
The healthcare industry has made many advances in medical innovations, but not every organization has kept pace. Many technologies, software, and infrastructures are outdated and have minimal resilience to cyberattacks. System updates are important and software should be the most recent version. But eventually, some software reaches end-of-life, and vendors stop providing updates. According to a report published by Duo.com, of the 82% of healthcare organizations that are using Windows, 76% are still using Windows 7 – an operating system that is “so outdated that patches can’t keep it secure”.
Untrained Healthcare Staff
Medical professionals are trained to deal with a lot of things but protecting themselves from cyber threats is not normally one of them. As a result, healthcare staff are often unprepared to deal with cyber risks. But with security incidents becoming an increasing everyday reality, all staff need to be trained in order to be able to identify threats such as phishing and social engineering.
Valuable Patient Information
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations store a great deal of patient data. This data is a valuable target for cyber attackers due to its monetary value. Hackers can sell the data on the black market or essentially sell hacked patient information back to healthcare organizations by using ransomware to hold the information hostage.
Prevention is the key
There are a variety of reasons why healthcare systems are often targets of cyber attackers such as outdated technology, untrained staff, and valuable patient information. Being aware of these reasons highlights the importance of healthcare cybersecurity awareness.
Posture provides small and mid-size enterprises with a low-cost solution to improve their organizations’ cybersecurity hygiene. From HIPAA and cybersecurity awareness training, risk assessment, to a marketplace with vetted cost-effective security tools and services.