Going to the doctor has never been so dangerous. This article explores the impact of poor cybersecurity measures in the healthcare industry and how that puts patients’ lives at risk.
There are so many online threats to watch out for these days that almost nothing feels safe anymore. One place that really should feel safe but is in fact now a dangerous sieve of user data is the healthcare industry. Cyberattacks are increasing in almost every industry worldwide, but healthcare has been one of the worst-hit by hackers.
In the past year alone, attackers have been focusing more of their efforts on healthcare facilities. Almost 30% of all cyberattacks that occurred in 2018 were targeted at healthcare organizations. Making it the most-targeted industry in the past few months, above even the finance and tech sectors.
Targeting healthcare organizations is an undoubtedly despicable move, but hackers are getting away with it. And these attacks are growing more deadly and complicated by the year.
Right now, everyone who uses medical services of any kind should take a hard look at their service providers. Quality service is not limited to bedside manners and medical expertise anymore. People now have to examine the precautions these organizations take to protect their digital lives as well. The massive influx of Internet-based technology into medical procedures and patient records systems has made this a critical consideration.
Read on to find out how this issue has gotten to such a precarious stage and what safeguards patients need to take to protect themselves.
How Can Cyberthreats Impact The Healthcare Industry So Much?
Why is this growing problem still not getting the attention it deserves? Because the healthcare industry is sadly still lacking the initiative to prioritize cybersecurity. Even though it costs medical organizations a total loss of around $12.5 million a year.
Why does this keep happening? The problem is three-fold:
- Cyberattackers know that the healthcare industry collects a staggering amount of personal data that they could exploit. Data is the new currency – turning medical facilities into the perfect prey.
- Medical professionals aren’t being trained enough on the do’s and don’ts of cybersecurity. In fact, these organizations aren’t spending enough time or resources on training their staff or securing their systems. The notorious WannaCry attack back in 2017 is a perfect example of this.
- Putting a price on a life is near impossible. Doctors are under constant pressure and time constraints. So they would rather pay up during a ransomware attack than risk lives due to locked equipment. Which is why this industry faced the biggest share of ransomware attacks in 2018.
Take Back Control: Try These Precautions To Minimize Risk
It’s impossible to control how an organization handles its data and internal systems. One would hope they take the strongest precautions. But unfortunately, the industry as a whole still underestimates the possibility and probability of a cyberattack. Which means it’s up to the people themselves to protect their digital data.
Here are a few things that everyone should be doing:
- Stick to Safe Online Practices
Don’t share any unnecessary personal data online, because hackers use this to create targeted phishing attacks. And don’t visit any unsecured websites. Only websites with (https://) at the start of the URL are safe to use.
- Take Cybersecurity Into Account When Picking a Healthcare Provider
If a healthcare provider doesn’t make a point of prioritizing cybersecurity, then they’re not worth considering. Ask them about how they approach this issue and whether they have a dedicated system to keep patient records safe.
- Use a Password Manager
These handy tools keep hackers from discovering passwords by keeping them stored safely in an encrypted vault. Password managers automatically fill in passwords and can create new complicated ones for every new account.
- Get a Reliable VPN
A VPN is a strong start toward keeping hackers out of the loop. Because this technology bars them from getting access to a network connection. VPN technology is picking up in popularity thanks to its ability to hide a person’s devices from outsiders who want to infiltrate them.
The healthcare industry is set to lose around $25 billion in 2019. Don’t become part of that statistic. People should start taking steps to protect themselves and their digital data today.