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Major cybersecurity challenges in Healthcare

Healthcare cybersecurity is a growing concern, and this industry is afflicted by several cybersecurity-related issues. During the last few years security incidents in healthcare have shown a steady rise, and unfortunately, many organizations have failed to protect their assets and networks. 

Since the patient health records have been digitized, there is the danger of electronic health records becoming the target for cybercriminals. This is purely because these records contain highly sensitive and unique information about patients’ medical histories, doctors and hospitals. 

For that reason, medical organizations must stay vigilant against online threats, which may seem quite straightforward, but healthcare data also presents many challenges. Despite such repercussions of cyberattacks, the healthcare industry, unfortunately, lags in terms of its promptitude and elasticity for cyber threats. 

Cybersecurity threats to healthcare faces include the following:

  • The first problem seems to be the fact that the healthcare sector allocates limited investments in cybersecurity. Compared to, for example, the banking sector, healthcare companies underspending in cybersecurity programs. The nature and depth of cyber threats in healthcare have changed, so the organizations have to align their approaches towards cybersecurity to their objectives.
  • Ransomware is another security nightmare to healthcare organizations, which prevents organizations from accessing their systems. This encryption continues until the organization pays a certain amount of money. Yes, this is perhaps the “life or death” situation for healthcare organizations, so they are more likely to pay up the ransom, most probably through bitcoins, in order to reaccess the data.
  • Another danger to healthcare security is phishing, by which hackers steal highly valuable medical data. Worse yet, to infiltrate an entire organization it only takes one person to fall for the bait. 

Since healthcare is a highly connected environment, and employees need access to numerous systems, it creates significant risks.

Last but not least, since the connected devices have been completely revolutionizing healthcare, IoT devices have become a major target of cybercriminals. As the use of IoT devices grows, cyber-attacks to IoT devices seem to continue to be prevalent. It should be noted that robust data security is important within any organization where IoT devices operate, and healthcare is no exception.

Organizations cannot protect what they cannot see, so the proper visibility into the ecosystem is critical. The healthcare sector has long been doubtful about implementing new technologies, but they have to make security their number one priority. Only then, organizations will be able to take proactive measures to mitigate cybersecurity risks.