Cybersecurity in Healthcare Is a Public Safety Issue

When you hear the phrase "cyberattack," what do you envision? If you work in the healthcare industry, you probably picture a hacker stealing electronic patient records. After all, healthcare organizations, just like any other businesses, can become the victims of an online attack. And you'd be right; that's certainly one way in which healthcare companies can find their cybersecurity compromised.

But there's another aspect to consider... Cybersecurity in healthcare is actually a public safety issue. Beyond patient records, hackers may be able to manipulate internet-connected medical devices and more. In the event of a breach, organizations must move quickly to minimize damage (systemic, financial and reputational). Learn more about the risks and cybersecurity healthcare measures with CyberPolicy.

Medical Records Fetch a High Price
Stolen healthcare records were worth $355 each back in 2014, and that value tends to rise year over year. When you compare this to the fact that compromised records cost $158 in general, it's easy to see that the healthcare industry is especially desirable for hackers looking for confidential data to steal and sell on the black market.

While cyberattacks targeting patient records are a huge problem, they're not the only cybersecurity issue for healthcare administrations to address.

The Rise of the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an ever-growing network of devices connected to the internet, including everything from smart appliances to wearable devices and, yes, even healthcare apparatuses. While these advancements are ushering in a new era of connectivity, they also offer hackers more network entry points. As the CIO of Cook Children's Hospital says for NPR, "The last thing anybody wants to happen in their organization is have all their heart monitors disabled or all of their IV pumps that provide medication to a patient disabled."

As Wired points out, these online devices have a myriad of advanced uses: transmitting patient data back to healthcare providers, reminding patients to take medication or syncing care plans with a smartphone or tablet for on-the-go access, to name a few. But they're only useful if they're operating correctly. Users could experience dangerous results if their IoT-enabled devices are corrupted or interrupted. For instance, last year, Johnson & Johnson informed diabetic patients that there was a slight risk hackers could overdose them with insulin via electronic pumps.

The Risks of Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks users from accessing the data they need-in this case, healthcare providers and/or patients-unless they pay a fee. A ransomware attack can halt hospital or practice operations, holding important information hostage for a critical period of time.

What can healthcare providers do to reduce the risk to public safety? Start with improving cybersecurity in healthcare across the board (including passwords, employee practices and IT systems). You may even want to hire an outside security consultant to identify vulnerabilities so you can close the gaps.

If a cyberattack does occur, healthcare organizations will find themselves on the hook for the costly cleanup. Healthcare cyber insurance can help ease the financial burden of HIPAA fines, ongoing patient support, lost business and more so they can get back to treating patients. Let CyberPolicy find you an affordable, specialized policy today!

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