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The Rise in Healthcare Cybersecurity Risks, and How to Combat Them

 Guest post by Brad Smith


Image from Unsplash.com


 

The problem of cyber-attacks against the healthcare sector is not new.

Over the past year, though, there has been a massive spike in the rate of attacks happening against this sector. This calls for serious concern from healthcare players and regulators lest they fall to this new wave of cyber pandemics coursing through their ranks.

 

What’s the Problem?

Hackers going after the healthcare sector know that they can score a lot of good data and money at the same time.

Data theft exposes sensitive details such as patient name, social status, social security number, credit card details, insurance information, and more. Selling such data in whole or parts on the black market can fetch a pretty sum for the hacker who lands it.

In some other instances, ransomware attacks are the preferred mode.

While hacks against this sector have been going on for a long time, the pandemic brought out the worst in these hackers.

In the past, healthcare workers were protected by a combination of the IT department and other best practices deployed around the internal networks. The pandemic meant that most healthcare workers had to do their thing from home or other remote locations.

Thus, it became easier for hackers to leverage the minimal knowledge that these users had about cybersecurity to breach them. It was also much easier to compromise users, making their access the key to the entire network at large.

 

It’s not a lost cause

The best thing here is that the problem is identified.

Thus, the next step is solving the problem. However, unlike before, a blanket secure network cannot be deployed over all parties affected. So, here are some tips to help out today.

 

#1 Device Security

Every device that will be used to access sensitive data from the healthcare facility should be highly secured. Here are some tips on how:

       Install an antimalware,

       Install a firewall – outbound and inbound,

       Choose secure passwords,

       Never leave the device unattended, especially in public places,

       Don’t connect untrusted external drives to the computer,

       Disable USB and other external ports,

       Activate remote data wiping options in case the unit gets stolen,

       Update the device firmware whenever you get a new version,

       Update apps regularly,

       Never sideload apps.

 

#2 Network Security

The very network that you access the internet with could leave you compromised too. Before logging into sensitive accounts, ensure these:

       You’re not on a public Wi-Fi network,

       Your router is not using the default username and password,

       You have a VPN installed for improved network security,

       You don’t have unsecured devices on the same network.

 

#3 Account Security

Some platforms require that each user has an account to access sensitive files and data. Here are some tips to keep your account secure:

       Choose secure passwords for all of your accounts,

       Never share your account login details with anyone,

       Never login to your accounts on external devices,

       Always log out and clear your sessions whenever you’re done,

       Enable 2FA wherever possible.

 

Final Words

Implement the tips above across every relevant stakeholder in your healthcare facility today. That gives you a better chance against cyberattacks – and a playbook to follow if they do happen at all.

 

 

Brad Smith is a technology expert at TurnOnVPN, a non-profit promoting safe and free internet for all. He writes about his dream for free internet and unravels the horror behind big techs.

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