By MedTech Outlook | Wednesday, June 26, 2019
The growing cyberattacks have made it imperative for organizations to adopt the latest cybersecurity techniques to protect patient data as well as medical device integrity.
FREMONT, CA – In the year 2016, on a quiet summer day, a devastating cyberattack shook the servers of a healthcare organization in the state of Arizona, compromising over 3 million patient records. A cybersecurity firm was hired to investigate the matter, and the results revealed two attacks which enabled the hackers to access sensitive information such as names, dates, verification codes, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, doctor names, and other healthcare information.
The incident evinces the negligence of healthcare organizations in implementing robust cybersecurity measures for their connected technology. As a result, the troves of patient information in their servers have become attractive targets for cyberattackers. The statistics show that the attacks on healthcare organizations are significantly more when compared to other industries. Cyberattacks on healthcare providers affect not only sensitive data stored in the servers but also the integrity of medical devices connected to the network.
Cyberattacks often occur through unsecured devices used by healthcare staff. The attackers utilize email vectors to plant compromised image files to manipulate the network. The access of data by consulting doctors and external users further complicates cybersecurity. Cyberattackers keep modernizing their approaches; hence, constant upgrading of cyber defense systems is imperative for healthcare organizations.
The first step toward robust cybersecurity is securing the network endpoints, including the various devices utilized by doctors, nurses, and employees in the organizations. In this regard, healthcare providers need to collaborate with premier software and hardware vendors that offer integrated security features. Often, inbuilt security is far more effective than integrating different security tools. The security functionalities should also provide adequate data protection at the software and hardware level.
In the face of growing cybersecurity threats, incorporating augmented network protection is no longer an option. In the case of several data breaches, the attackers have leverage compromised user credentials as entry points. The implementation of multifactor authentication (MFA) which uses fingerprints, facial recognition, and other attributes can secure user logins.
The digitalization across the healthcare sector has increased the amount of personal and financial information stored across various devices. Hence, there is a need for robust data protection systems which can secure device data across the organization. The healthcare compliance also requires upgrading of older devices, including enhanced user authentication, and MFA.