Regarding healthcare cybersecurity, several challenges are unique to the industry. It includes cloud threats, data breaches, and phishing attacks. The simplest way to prevent cyberattacks is by establishing a security culture within your organization. It will help employees understand their roles and responsibilities when securing sensitive patient data.
Lack of Security Awareness
Health data is precious, and healthcare organizations must have robust security measures. Protecting sensitive information against unauthorized access or disclosure is a requirement of the Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for covered companies. Unfortunately, a new report shows that employees often must be aware of cybersecurity risks and best practices. It is especially true for healthcare workers, who have access to sensitive information that should always be protected. A recent survey by Kaspersky found that more than half of healthcare workers in North America have yet to learn how their organization protects their IT devices from threats like ransomware and malware. It is a severe problem, as the cost of data breaches can be substantial. Another primary reason for more security awareness in the healthcare environment is that many employees need training. It is a severe issue, as many people need the skills to recognize phishing emails and other cyber threats. This lack of training means that employees must be aware of the risks they face, which is why so many data breaches happen. These attacks are almost always caused by human error, so ensuring everyone within the organization is educated on the best cybersecurity in healthcare is essential.
Insecure Medical Equipment and Devices
Hackers often target insecure medical equipment and devices because they can be exploited in ways that cause physical harm to patients. For example, a hacker could alter an insulin pump to deliver lethal doses of medication or a defibrillator to disable and stop the shocks it would generally give to correct arrhythmias. Cybersecurity experts say these devices also lack basic security protections against common attacks. For example, radio replay vulnerabilities, which allow attackers to intercept signals sent by a device and change them before sending them back, are common. Biomedical devices are ripe for attack because many transmit unencrypted data. In addition, many have hard-coded passwords that can’t be changed or removed. Cybersecurity experts call on the industry to replace legacy devices with newer, more secure models. That would significantly change how medical systems are architected and operated and may help limit future hacking incidents. For now, the FDA encourages manufacturers to prioritize cybersecurity in their designs and collaborate with hospitals on security protocols. It’s also considering requiring device makers to provide a “software bill of materials,” which would detail all of the software programs on a particular machine. Hospitals could then be better informed about any issues and take steps to mitigate them.
Outdated Physical Servers
Using outdated physical servers in the healthcare environment can increase vulnerabilities and make it harder to implement cybersecurity solutions. These systems can be susceptible to cyberattacks and provide back-door access for attackers to access personal and medical data.
In addition, outdated systems can be challenging to maintain and often need to be updated. Therefore, it is essential to regularly update software to keep your system safe from hackers and other security risks. Aside from updating outdated systems, there are a few other ways to protect your business from cyberattacks. For example, installing a firewall can help prevent malware from entering your network. Another way to reduce risk is by limiting the information your server stores and keeping what you need. It can save time and money.
Finally, ensuring your servers are secure by implementing proper firewalls and antivirus is essential. These can help prevent malware from getting into your network and disrupting workflows. The health sector has attempted to address the problems posed by these challenges, but more research is needed in some domains. Future research should explore enhanced technical controls, cyber resilience, human-related security incidents, and strategic cybersecurity management.
Lack of Documentation
As the healthcare industry transforms under digital technology, it faces several cybersecurity challenges. One of the most important is protecting patient privacy. Almost every clinic and hospital handles sensitive electronically protected health information (ePHI), which can be a tempting target for cybercriminals.
This data can include medical history, behavioral tendencies, demographics, social security number, health insurance and contact information, among other things. Healthcare organizations must ensure ePHI is adequately protected from hacking threats and that healthcare professionals know this issue.
While many ways exist to protect ePHI, the lack of documentation can be a significant vulnerability for healthcare facilities. Insufficient documentation often leads to errors and poor patient care. In addition, documentation quality may impact other aspects of a healthcare organization’s operations and processes. For example, inaccurate coding can lead to underpayment for services rendered. The quality of medical records also directly impacts the financial well-being of hospitals.