Even in the profoundly privacy-regulated medical care sector, few individuals know how susceptible most of our systems- from connected medical devices to Electronic Health Records (EHR)- are to cyber hacks. With the current headlines on Washington Post highlighting how hackers can benefit here.
Most medical organizations don't perceive themselves as targets for complex cyber attacks. Sadly, this is not the plain truth. It shouldn't be perplexing that larceny of patient information is on the rise since this data is greatly more valuable. Financial services firms have become very vigilant at fighting credit card theft, especially by promptly recognizing and revoking compromised credit cards. However, medical data contains birth dates, social security numbers, as well as physical descriptions, but steps towards protecting this information are lacking.
Causes Of Health Data Breach
Certainly, a contributing aspect to the augmenting rate of healthcare breaches is the technological advancements of the health record. Even though there are many clinical benefits of shifting from paper record systems, it has caused patient breaches to a big extent. The pursuit of rolling out EHRs has not constantly been coupled with adequate investment in the protection infrastructure to enhance this milieu, leaving some medical systems unduly at risk.
The anthem hack, just like other top-profile breaches we have heard about in past years- is not a denunciation of any specific organization or yet technological resolution. Hackers plus their tools are becoming increasingly refined while most of our systems, in medical care and somewhere else simply aren't vigilant.
To What Extent Are You Exposed?
As healthcare providers rethink their safety strategies against advanced threats, they have to consider three major methods that hackers can apply in hacking your health data.
- Conventional cyber attacks- Trojans, phishing schemes, ransomware, and malware are some types of cybercrimes that occur to all parties, although some are riskier than others. There are minimal built-in protection and essential security mindset in the healthcare industry compared to other industries, therefore, more vulnerable to cybercrimes. Malicious software that is deployed via spam, targeted attacks, infected mobile devices, compromised websites or others, expose sensitive data and create costly IT headaches.
- Connected devices- nowadays, all from heart monitors to IV pumps can be networked and virtually interfaced with EMR systems, offering concurrent alerts to healthcare institutions. This is a noble thing given operational efficiency and patient care, but a possible nightmare
- Personal and home medical devices- If you have health devices and apps, those apps and medical devices in your home are collecting and transferring personal health information increasingly. They often link directly with clinical data systems and EHRs, escalating risks in case those systems are attacked. Whether it is a home glucose monitor or that iPhone app, it can be an attack platform.
Your health data can be hacked since medical data lies in several devices, medical practices, systems in hospitals, insurance companies or even your HR databases. Today, IT is not an add-on service for the medical care sector; it has become key to efficient, successful care of you. Reuters reports that healthcare providers and even medical insurers should invest in updated, developed protection, wireless access and application security, and high-speed firewalls to safeguard people's medical data.