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Healthcare and Cybersecurity Risks
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The strain of Covid-19 has overwhelmed our hospitals and clinics.  Limited resources coupled with technology advancements burden health care organizations. The first priority is always patients. The current healthcare system is patient-forward with the most critical needs at the forefront. While it makes sense in the short term, insufficient cybersecurity disrupts business and puts patients and staff at risk.

Identifying that cyber safety is not separate from day-to-day responsibilities and does extensively impact hospitals is the beginning of an equipped cybersecurity plan. Technology aids everyday functions. Protecting against potential threats leads to higher-quality of care, uninterrupted service, and secure peace of mind. Ideally, all hospitals would operate with the same mindset on cybersecurity protocols and carefulness. Realistically, healthcare organizations have a long way to go.

What’s at Risk When Cyberattacks Hit Hospitals?
Cyberattackers take advantage of electronic health records, centralized command centers, and the use of digital systems to upload information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures there is no unauthorized patient disclosure of any protected Health Information (PHI).

Hackers can jeopardize a considerable amount of healthcare information and impact performance:

Patient safety
Medical records
Lifesaving medical devices
Private patient data - can be stolen or corrupted
Health outcomes
The American Hospital Association (AHA) Center for Health Innovation expresses the importance of cybersecurity guidelines. The guide warns that lost “access to medical records and lifesaving medical devices, such as when a ransomware virus holds them hostage, will deter your ability to effectively care for your patients.”

The Brookings Institution came out with an article studying why cybersecurity is a risk for hospitals. It seems that healthcare is more financially appealing to cybercriminals. The broad attack surfaces in healthcare increase vulnerabilities that hackers can easily target.

In 2020, a German woman died from an aortic aneurysm. While this was the primary cause of death, there was more to be told. The woman’s ambulance was en route to the hospital when a ransomware attack denied them access. Right before, hackers encrypted data and did not let the hospital obtain it until they paid them.

As a result, this ransomware attack “forced the hospital to turn the ambulance away.” It “compromised the digital infrastructure that the hospital relies on to coordinate doctors, beds, and treatment, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of operations and other procedures.” The hospital had to shut down operations by half and turn away new patients to deal with the crisis. Investigators concluded that while “the ransomware attack did indeed contribute to the victim’s death,” it wasn’t enough to prosecute the cyberattackers.

Two more incidents from cyberattacks wreaked havoc on U.S. hospitals. One furloughed 300 employees, and “another [couldn’t] administer computer controller cancer treatments.”

There are widespread security attacks the 2020 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey reports, indicating hospitals are a cyberattack target.

More info  HERE

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