Cybersecurity attacks are increasing among the healthcare industry and it’s essential to understand the dangers that arise from it. Increasing worldwide dependence on technology has resulted in increased cyberattacks and data breaches across various industries. However, healthcare seems to be a top target for these crimes.

Cyberattacks and Data Breaches: The Questions to Ask

The 2022 Healthcare Cyber Trend Research Report states that healthcare institutions suffered 521 major data breaches from hackers in 2021, which is a 25% increase over 2020. These data breaches impacted an estimated 43,096,956 patients.

Why Is Cybersecurity a Problem in Healthcare?

Corporations in the healthcare field have taken steps in recent years to combat the effects of cybercrime, but they are still significant targets.

There are a few reasons why the industry is under attack, making healthcare cybersecurity important.

  • Personal patient data stored in hospital records are valuable to thieves. It may include patient IDs, prescriptions, medical history, and payment options.
  • Medical staff work from satellite locations and multiple devices that may lack proper security.
  • Medical devices are usually not built with security features and are therefore easily accessible, making them an easy target.

What Are the Latest Healthcare Cybersecurity Challenges?

Cyberattacks take various forms, and an attack’s impact can vary tremendously. The healthcare sector has a vulnerability in four major areas.

  1. Legacy Systems. Historically, hospitals and other healthcare organizations have not allocated large portions of their budget to upgrading their traditional operating systems. Upgrading legacy systems with modern digital tools would minimize vulnerabilities and maximize health outcomes while providing healthcare administration, providers, staff, and patients with improved experiences.
  2. Patient Privacy. The 1996 HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates the storage and use of patient health information. External theft of patient data results in care disruption and money waste. Ransomware commonly forces organizations to pay for the restoration of patient data systems. Insider misuse is another big problem, stemming from human error, malicious intent, financial gain, curiosity, or convenience.
  3. IT Challenges. The prevalence of IT in the healthcare industry has resulted in the automation of manual tasks and enhanced communication between physicians and patients. Digitization of information has provided patients with increased access to valuable information, enabling them to make improved decisions regarding their care. IT benefits also include increased personalization, improved access, lower costs, and higher quality of care. Despite these advantages, numerous information gaps between points of contact create a high level of vulnerability.
  4. Security Breaches. Hackers regularly capitalize on healthcare fears to commit cybercrime. In 2020, the most prominent healthcare cybersecurity breaches occurred from phishing attacks, fraud schemes, and vendor system vulnerabilities. Insider threats, hacked devices, malware, and ransomware are threats to the healthcare industry.

Technology carries numerous advantages for the healthcare industry. While technological advances can help improve the quality of service and positively impact patient outcomes, they can also create vulnerabilities and security risks that cybercriminals are quick to exploit.