7 Biggest Cyber Security Issues In Healthcare

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Just read this:

The healthcare industry experiences a higher rate of cyber attacks than any other industry.


A 2018 study found that 90% of healthcare organizations had at least one cybersecurity incident in the past two years.


I say to all my clients, when it comes to the security of patient’s data, it’s important to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

With the healthcare industry becoming increasingly digital, the threat of cyber attacks is on the rise.

Unfortunately, these attacks can put patients’ personal and medical information at risk. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top cyber security issues facing healthcare organizations and provide tips on how to protect against them.

Medical care facilities keep electronic health records and store sensitive data, sometimes neglecting cyber securing measures. As the medical sector becomes more digitized since the pandemic, we should talk more about cyber security issues in healthcare.

Unfortunately, recent research unveils a 55% increase in cyber security threats for the medical management sector in recent years. It actually turns the industry into a gold mine for hackers and cybercriminals. 

What are the cybersecurity challenges a healthcare organization can face? Let’s go through the most common cyber threats.

Top 7 Cyber Security Issues In 2022

Enhanced cyber security in healthcare protects critical infrastructure, personal medical records, and financial patient information. When compromised, the data obtained from a hospital server can be used in large-scale fraud and stain facilities’ reputations.

Staying aware of the biggest cyber security threats in healthcare and common vulnerabilities helps organizations and small medical offices build effective safety systems.

What are the top 7 cyber security threats that pose a risk to healthcare organizations?

1. Data breach

Cyber security issues in healthcare information technology are alarming for patients and healthcare facilities.

A data breach can expose sensitive information like social security numbers and medical records, leading to identity theft and financial fraud. 

Medical facilities might also suffer financial losses and damage to their reputation if they experience a data breach. 

Last year’s research stated that medical care facilities, on average, experience 2.8 million breaches per month. Businesses open their services to cybercriminals by not following HIPPA requirements, missing cybersecurity systems updates, and neglecting additional security measures and protocols.

 2. Malware & Ransomware

One of the most widely-experienced cyber security issues in healthcare is malware attacks.

Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to malware and ransomware attacks because they often have a large amount of sensitive patient data that can be valuable to cybercriminals.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom to restore access. This attack can severely disrupt the delivery of care and compromise sensitive patient data, leading to drastic financial losses.

One example of a ransomware attack on a healthcare system is the attack on the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in 2016.

The attackers used malware to encrypt the hospital’s computer systems and demanded a ransom of 40 Bitcoins (approximately $17,000 at the time) in exchange for the decryption key.

The hospital ultimately paid the ransom and was able to regain access to its systems. This attack highlighted the potential consequences of a ransomware attack on a healthcare organization, including disruption of patient care, loss of sensitive patient information, and financial loss.

It also showed that even small and medium-sized healthcare organizations can be targeted and may not have the resources to handle such an attack.

Enhancing the security of the network with internet traffic can protect businesses against malware or ransomware attacks.

3. Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are becoming a significant cyber security issue for the healthcare industry. It includes fraudulent emails or websites trying to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as credit card details or login credentials.

In the healthcare sector, phishing attacks can lead to the theft of protected health information (PHI), with drastic consequences for patients and organizations. As it’s a direct violation of HIPAA compliance, a medical facility can expect a lawsuit in the case of a phishing attack. 

Cybercriminals take advantage of employees’ lack of knowledge on identifying suspicious phishing emails. Therefore, to fight against such cyber threats in medical facilities and avoid putting an organization at risk, one should combine technological solutions with educational methods.

4. Insider threats

One of the biggest challenges a healthcare provider can face is internal cyber security threats from within the organization.

For example, it can happen from medical staff with access to the servers and network users. Thieves can intentionally create a plan to harm the facility or gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. 

However, it can also have unintentional nature through actions if a person fails for a phishing attack or neglects proper security protocols.

Insider threats can have drastic consequences for a hospital, clinic, and patients, making it a significant cybersecurity challenge to address.

5. DDoS attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is a cyber-attack that can pose a significant cybersecurity threat to the clinic or medical organization. These attacks aim to disrupt the normal functioning of a network or system by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. 

The DDoS attacks can prevent medical providers from accessing electronic medical records, scheduling appointments, or communicating with patients. As follows, it may lead to delays in treatment and potentially harmful and deadly consequences for patients. 

The DDoS healthcare cybersecurity threat can aim to gain access to patient data, such as personal information, medical records, and insurance information, and to sell it on the black market.

6. Cloud threats

Cloud computing has become a popular tool for health management organizations to improve data storage, communication, and collaboration. However, it also carries certain risks, as not all cloud-based solutions follow HIPAA compliance.

Cloud threats can compromise medical records, personal identification, and financial data. It may give attackers an upper-hand if your healthcare network security lacks preventive measures. 

Another potential threat of cloud-based software is the risk of vendor lock-in, which refers to the inability to easily switch to a different provider if the one has failed you.

7. Outdated systems

As technology advances, software and systems that are no longer supported may have known vulnerabilities that have not been patched.

These vulnerabilities can be exploited by cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to sensitive patient data, steal information, or launch ransomware attacks.

Additionally, older systems may not have the same level of security features and protections as newer systems, making them more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

By not updating software and systems, healthcare organizations leave themselves open to cyber security threats that could compromise patient data, disrupt operations, and incur financial losses.

It’s important for healthcare organizations to regularly review and update their technology infrastructure to ensure it is current and secure.

How To Elevate Your Cyber Security System?

Learning about cyber security risks in healthcare is only the first step to building effective and optimized systems. As mentioned, dealing with consequences is a time- and money-consuming process.

Therefore, the end goal for medicine providers is to find efficient preventive methods to protect servers and networks from a healthcare data breach, malware attack, or another cybersecurity incident.  

Here is what one can implement to enhance cyber security in healthcare organizations:

  • Switch to multi-factor authentication methods to obstacle a threat actor and protect your servers;

  • Prevent cybersecurity risks by raising awareness and educating employees on threats, identifying techniques, and mitigation protocols;

  • One of the simplest tools to keep your medical facility safe is to maintain password hygiene;

  • As an anti-virus system is a proven method to reduce attacks on hospitals, consider investing in high-quality software;
  • Control physical and online access to sensitive data by limiting employees’ access.
  • Hire a third-party security team to shield you from malicious attacks.
  • You can also get a free consultation from the tech specialists whether your systems needs to modernized and how to achieve it in milestones.

How Ralabs Healthcare Solutions Can Help Your Business?

Your patients’ data security is the #1 priority. When it comes to cybersecurity, the stakes are high.

Cyber security issues in healthcare are a sensitive subject that requires a custom approach and a certain level of expertise to design solutions to overcome any cyber risk.

Do not hesitate to reach out to get a free quote to evaluate your system.

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