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by Derive Technologies,

Today, no type of business or organization is exempt from cybersecurity risk. Healthcare providers find themselves targeted by advanced threats because the information in electronic health records (EHRs) is valuable. Hackers can sell patient information on the Dark Web or use it to commit insurance fraud. 

Attacks on hospitals and medical centers put patients’ lives at risk by interrupting their care and delaying emergency responses. A data breach can cause medical histories to be stolen, lost, or altered, making reaching the correct diagnosis or treatment plan difficult. 

Here’s a look at three cybersecurity threats healthcare organizations should be concerned about 

1) Ransomware 

Healthcare providers are often targeted by ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals know that hospitals and medical centers can’t afford to take the time needed to recover files after they have been encrypted by a bad actor. In an emergency, time is of the essence when delivering patient care. 

Ransomware attacks frequently result from: 

  • Unprotected email platforms 
  • Outdated antivirus software 
  • Lack of security awareness among staff 

Many times, a ransomware attack is triggered by a staff member unwittingly clicking on an infected attachment in an email. Once triggered, the ransomware encrypts all files; the more sophisticated ones can delete on-site backups. The hacker then sends a message demanding a ransom in return for a decryption key. 

Hackers will often hold data hostage two to three times before relinquishing control. The first time, the data is held hostage for a traditional ransom payment. Next, the hackers demand additional funds for not disclosing a successful network penetration or data breach to the public and media channels. Finally, the cybercriminals offer to share their exact penetration techniques in exchange for yet another payment. 

2) Phishing Emails 

Most healthcare providers lack policies and expertise around email security. The staff at a hospital or medical center may not have received sufficient training to recognize phishing emails. After all, medical staff members are experts in delivering patient care, not cybersecurity. 

While web and endpoint security may be considered more urgent concerns, social phishing has become an increasingly popular attack vector for cybercriminals. In social phishing attacks, hackers use social media to impersonate co-workers or authority figures, gain an employee’s trust, and convince them to click on suspicious links, reveal sensitive information, or even send money. 

3) Data Breaches 

Usually, the motivation for data breaches is financial. Stolen medical data can be held for ransom or sold for a massive profit on the black market. The more in-depth and comprehensive the information, the more valuable it becomes. 

Data breaches most often result from weak frontline defenses, such as inadequate web security or outdated anti-malware software. Breaches can be staged through endpoints, such as medical devices, tablets, or patient portals. Since these assets are located at the edge of the network, traditional firewalls may be inadequate for protecting healthcare organizations. 

How to Defend Your Healthcare Organization Against Threats 

Once your healthcare organization knows what threats are out there, what should you do? 

Partnering with a technology company that is experienced in working with healthcare providers will help you put together a security strategy that makes sense for your threat landscape. 

Derive Technologies has been serving healthcare organizations in the Tri-State area for more than 20 years through our dedicated healthcare practice. We understand how to help your hospital or medical center prevent targeted cyberthreats. As a Cisco Premier Certified Partner, we help our customers in the healthcare industry leverage leading network security solutions to protect patient information. 

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Derive Technologies

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Do you think your healthcare organization may be vulnerable to security threats? Find out for sure by requesting a free security assessment from Derive Technologies. 

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