Cybersecurity threats in healthcare can cause dire financial and legal damage to organizations as hackers test the healthcare industry’s security and resilience.
Healthcare cybersecurity tools are critical for hospitals and other providers to help reduce risks. These cybersecurity tools help to prevent attacks and data breaches. Healthcare organizations must consider upgrading their cybersecurity tools to protect themselves from newer and more sophisticated attacks.
Here are the top cybersecurity threats in health care, from hackers trying to steal patient information to phishing attacks on the admin staff.
Healthcare Cybersecurity Threats
Cybersecurity threats in the healthcare industry can have severe impacts on finance and the health of patients. A malicious can take over a system and cause the death of some patients. It’s grim, but that’s a reality the healthcare industry faces today.
If you operate in the healthcare industry, you should pay attention to the cybersecurity threats below.
1. Malicious Network Traffic
Malicious network traffic is the biggest cybersecurity threat for healthcare providers. Malicious traffic is any suspicious link or file created or received over a network. This threat first gains network entry from an application to a hostile web page service. And then, it overrides the network and executes vicious operations like illegal software downloads and reconnaissance.
2. Man-in-the-middle Attack
This kind of attack is a listening attack. The attacker interrupts an existing conversation or data transfer. After injecting themselves inside a communication or transfer, hackers operate like legitimate parts of the communication process or data transfer.
The purpose of injecting themselves into the conversation is to eavesdrop and steal sensitive information.
3. Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) Cache Poisoning
ARP is a low-level process that translates the machine address on a local network to the IP. An attacker injects incorrect data into the network to fool your computer to believe the attacker’s computer is the network gateway.
Instead of your actual network gateway, the attacker receives all of your network traffic and passes it along to another destination. From your end, everything is normal; however, the attacker has access to all of your information.
In summary, ARP cache poisoning is when the attacker gives you a fake Data Name system (DNS) entry that leads to a different website. It might look like your desired website, but it’s not, and the attacker captures whatever data you enter into the fake website.
4. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) Spoofing
One way to know if your connections are safe is through HTTPS. The hacker clones an actual website with HTTPS spoofing but leaves out some details, ensuring the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a bit different. The result appears like a genuine website, but it’s fake.
For instance, a website registered with a Unicode character looks like an “e” but isn’t. Using “google.com,” the URL might look like https://www.google.com. However, the “e” in “Google” is a Cyrillic “e,” which is a valid Unicode character that appears just like an “e.”
The hacker gets you to visit his fake website www.google.com with the Cyrillic “e” using an attack like phishing (emails with malicious code to get information from you). This enables the attacker to extract your critical data into these phony websites.
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5. Vulnerable Operating System (OS)
Hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities in the operating system (OS) running on their target’s computer. Many factors contribute to vulnerabilities in an OS, and some of them include:
- Outdated OS
- An error in the code or logic of operation
- Weak hidden backdoor programs
This is a form of cyber-threat where an attacker encrypts a victim’s files. The cybercriminal then requests payment from the victim to retrieve the encrypted information upon payment. Cybercriminals use malicious software to block access to a computer system until victims pay a ransom.
The attackers instruct victims on how to pay the fee to get the decryption key. Individuals and organizations alike are possible victims of ransomware. This type of cybercrime is a criminal money-making scheme that they can perpetuate through deceptive links in an email message, instant message, or website.
When ransomware attacks occur in the healthcare industry, crucial processes are restricted or become entirely nonfunctional. Healthcare providers then revert to using manual methods of operation. This effect slows medical processes and wastes funds that may have been allocated to the modernization of the hospital.
Malicious actors often target healthcare because of its significant value. Phishing is a strategy of exploiting victims, using emails containing links for data extraction.
Attackers produce personalized emails from the information they extract from websites, social media profiles, and other data sources. These emails are designed to raise the recipient’s curiosity, induce stress or sometimes appeal to the victim’s vanity.
Solutions to Cybersecurity Threats in Healthcare
The foremost step of a successful healthcare cybersecurity solution is selecting the right set of software and tools to address the specific security gaps an organization may have.
Below are eight key areas that healthcare providers should pay attention to:
- Combined platform support
Cybersecurity tools such as antivirus, anti-malware, or anti-ransomware can be combined to monitor a device’s activities. By monitoring all processes running within the device’s memory, they can detect and block any known malicious process.
Several endpoint protection is the best method for healthcare providers. This protection can cover mobile devices, workstations, and the entire network.
- Cloud management platform
A cloud management platform provides deployment tools with reporting capabilities and additional details on configuring and managing software.
- Compliance management software
Compliance management tools help hospitals ensure that they’re meeting the requirements. These tools also assist with compliance checklists.
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI operates by analyzing what’s going on within the network and signals when an attack is in progress or detects an anomaly.
Healthcare cybersecurity must be able to identify malicious activities to protect against evolving healthcare cyber-threats. Examples of AI are:
- QRadar Advisor
- IBM Security Intelligence Operations
- Trend Micro Advanced Threat Detection by Deep Discovery
These intelligent security platforms can block more advanced threats that other standard antivirus tools and network monitoring products cannot stop.
- Email protection
To protect email communication, healthcare providers should consider buying cybersecurity tools that offer email protection services against attacks.
Examples of products available with these capabilities include the FireEye Email Threat Prevention Platform and Cisco Email Security.
- System vulnerability checks
Vulnerability assessment is another essential solution to cybersecurity threats in the healthcare industry.
With the high number of software and networks in hospitals and other healthcare ventures, it can be challenging to determine what systems are safe and experienced attacks.
Examples of third-party applications for system vulnerability checks are Nmap, Nessus, network vulnerability assessment services, and many others available for download.
Some others like Cisco, IBM, FireEye Inc., and Symantec offer both protection and assessment tools.
- Network monitoring services
Cyber-attacks can occur at any time. This is why healthcare providers should have effective network monitoring platforms that provide alerts and 24/7 monitoring, even when IT is unavailable.
- Automatic protections for anomaly detection
With the alarming increase in cyber-attacks, healthcare IT needs data security tools that prevent future attacks by providing automatic responses once anomalies are detected.
Some examples include Cisco and SonicWall firewalls that can block IP addresses when the system detects incoming hacking attacks.
Other tools like Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection and Cisco Duo can enforce multi-factor authentication alerts when detecting anomalies in the user’s access or attempted access into the system.
Cybersecurity will continue to be a top priority in the healthcare industry. While healthcare organizations have several options to choose from, they must be careful to pick the right system. It’s vital to have the necessary protection without interrupting staff and network productivity.
This means that considering the different options is a worthy endeavor to ensure that the platform they choose addresses all their critical data security and compliance needs.
However, if you find the hassle of making your choice for a suitable platform too cumbersome, RSI Security is your one-stop-shop on all cybersecurity needs. We’re America’s premier compliance and cybersecurity provider dedicated to helping organizations achieve cybersecurity risk-management success. We’re here to help you mitigate risk and protect your data. We’ll work together to ensure you’re utilizing the best cybersecurity solutions available in your industry today. Reach out to any of our experts to book a session now.
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