Healthcare has long been a vulnerable target for cybercriminals. They have traditionally targeted hospitals in an effort to extort information and money owing to the characteristics of the operations that handle a large amount of data and offer emergency services. Let’s examine the ransomware and other cybersecurity issues facing the healthcare sector.
Basics of Ransomware Attacks
Attacks with malware and ransomware are rather typical in the healthcare sector. Hospitals are seen as a source of a quicker reward by attackers since the hospitals rely heavily on emergency care.
Despite this, the nature of the information held by the hospitals makes them more likely than any other business to conceal a ransomware assault. This makes it difficult for the government to create guidelines and guides on ransomware attacks.
Attacks using ransomware are hijacking, outcasting, and denying access to people to collect money. Most frequently, a screen directing the institution to pay the extortion money and restore their system is displayed to the designated health workers.
Despite the hijackers’ assurances that they will restore the data without endangering the individuals or the institution, they frequently forsake their promise. The authorities advise against paying the ransom and filing a complaint if you are the victim of a ransomware assault. But because of HIPAA regulations, it becomes increasingly difficult for hospitals.
Healthcare is one of those industries that needs consistent services. In the medical sector, there is no such thing as a service delay. Attacks by ransomware cause fundamental disruptions that go beyond financial gain.
For instance, a woman needing emergency treatment in Germany was transferred to another hospital because the original facility was under a ransomware attack. She passed soon after the event. Authorities have advised businesses to fix the Citrix network gateway for the CVE-2019-19871 vulnerability after the event, as it served as an access point for attackers.
Risks Associated With Ransomware Attacks
A ransomware attack’s immediate effect is financial loss. The losses you’d have to endure, from the ransom to consumer compensation and legal fines, would considerably outweigh the price of tightening cybersecurity throughout the whole operation.
For willful violations, according to the patient privacy act, the minimum penalty is $50,000. However, with each subsequent infraction, the fines may grow or possibly result in criminal charges.
Although monetary losses are eventually recovered, the reputational harm is nearly irreparable and lasts a long time. In extreme situations, reputational harm may force an institution to cease operations.
In the event of ransomware in the healthcare industry, patient information is exposed to the public, and malicious exploiters use this information to impersonate or threaten them to obtain additional information.
If ransomware has happened, customers will just go to your rivals, who are more likely to take security seriously since they understand the worth of their data. Following a ransomware attack and data breach, you can find it challenging to draw in new investors and customers.
You must adhere to HIPAA privacy law and ensure you’ve taken all the required precautions to stop hackers from using PHI for their gain. The people whose leaked data will sue you for carelessness and damages, in addition to the authorities.
HIPAA privacy act mandates that you adhere to their handbook and ensure you’ve taken all the required precautions to stop attackers from using the PHI for their own benefit. You will be sued for carelessness and damages by the authorities and the people whose data was leaked.
The strongest reason for the demise of the healthcare sector is downtime. The inquiry and legal actions might go on for a long time after a ransomware incident. Your operations are anticipated to stop at that point. Customers who had been dependent on you would soon discover alternatives that offered services equal to or superior to yours, and they would switch to remaining devoted clients.
Other Cybersecurity Risks in the Healthcare Sector
Most DDoS assaults in hospitals serve as a pretext for more sinister assaults like ransomware and data leaks. However, this does not imply that a standalone DDoS attack should just be disregarded in favor of keeping your cybersecurity staff busy with more severe attacks.
Most distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks bombard the victim’s IP addresses using technological or non-technical techniques to block the passage of legitimate requests. It takes more than just tighter cybersecurity to stop DDoS assaults.
Regarding non-technical methods, the attackers use public forums to disseminate false info under the guise of hacktivists to develop a theoretical campaign against the institutions and flood their systems for a prolonged period.
Except for hospitals and individual practitioners, many healthcare industry sectors were compelled to turn remote during the pandemic. As a result of the industry’s lack of readiness for the move compared to the tech sector, various technological and psychological weaknesses were evident.
Phishing attacks need victims to download an executable on their computer, which the attacker uses to take over the victim’s PC and the servers.
Spear phishing is typically done through emails by pretending to be superiors and coworkers. Social engineering techniques are used for it. The attacker deliberately selects information to thrill the targets or persuade them to click on a link that leads to malware that can be used to break into the servers from within. Spear phishing mostly targets businesses rather than specific employees.
Regardless of their institution, senior executives are the target of whale phishing. Whale phishing is more intricate and time-consuming to carry out. However, once successful, the attacker can get more control over the server.
Insider attacks and whistleblowing are quite common in hospitals. As a result of deliberate theft and dissemination of these highly sensitive reports, which attract a lot of publicity, businesses face cybersecurity difficulties. Phishing and DDoS attacks can potentially be built upon insider assaults as a base.
The Bottom Line
The most frequent and hazardous assaults on the healthcare industry include malware, ransomware, and data breach attacks. Phishing assaults and insider attacks have also been used recently to hurt businesses. Your duty as a healthcare service provider is to comply with HIPAA regulations and tighten your cybersecurity.