Does IoT Pose a Threat to Healthcare Security?

If you think about it, healthcare and technology have a lot in common. In fact, they work hand in hand to achieve the impossible: improve our quality of life and promote knowledge regarding our own bodies. Recent consumer products such as fitness trackers, web-connected pacemakers and teleconference doctors' visits embody this trend.

Experts suggest that the Internet of Things (IoT) will dramatically change the tech and health industries in the very near future. But there is a downside to this. Healthcare organizations are a top target for cybercriminals and IoT devices, notoriously lacking in proper defense protocols, IoT devices could be their entry point.

If you experience a healthcare breach, cybersecurity insurance from CyberPolicy is here to help with data recovery, litigation costs, lost revenue due to downtime and more.

A Healthier Future in Tech?

First, let's start with the benefits IoT brings to healthcare.

  • It reduces expenses for providers and patients by cutting systems costs, eliminating paperwork and allowing for instantaneous doctors' visits over video.
  • IoT technologies allow for real-time patient monitoring so medical professionals can access the efficacy of treatment without the need for in-person appointments or invasive procedures.
  • Connected healthcare solutions and automated workflows diminish the likelihood of clerical error, waste and missing records.
  • IoT technologies can improve the patient experience by providing holistic data on the body and its functions.
  • IoT technologies can improve the provider's experience by accumulating data on similar patients and procedures for enhanced outcomes.
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Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Well, here's the bad news. IoT technologies are being rushed to market, often without the proper cybersecurity protocols to obstruct hackers and digital crooks.

Healthcare organizations are already the primary target for data breach and ransomware attacks. As deranged as it may seem, hackers know that hospitals will cough up the cash if it means being able to assist patients again; not to mention that patient records are worth more to cyber thieves than stolen credit cards. The more connected healthcare becomes, the more of a mark it becomes for cyber crooks.

Then there are the burgeoning fears that hackers could directly impact patients. Take for example the web-connected pacemaker released by St. Jude Medical. Created to regulate heartbeats via remote link-up and record relevant data, the implantable heart device was vulnerable to digital incursion which could result in altered pacing or fatal shocks! Thankfully, this security flaw was caught by researchers before it could harm anyone, but it is still an eye opener for many people working in healthcare.

So, what can you do to protect your organization from hackers and data breach? Start by changing the factory-set passwords on all your IoT devices and Wi-Fi routers. Hackers can easily exploit weak or default passwords with a brute forces attack.

Hire an IT team to track your network for any suspicious activity. This team can either be internal or external depending on your organization's needs, as long as they specialize in cybersecurity rather than offer it as a peripheral service.

Remember to discuss the risk of cyberattacks with your patients. It's important that they understand the risks and benefits of web-connected healthcare technology in the same way they understand the positives and negatives of their prescriptions.

Finally, you'll want to invest in cybersecurity insurance from a respected and reputable provider. Even if you do experience a healthcare breach, CyberPolicy can assist you with recovering stolen records and repairing your reputation. Get your free quote today!

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