Healthcare Cyberattack Increase COVID-19

Healthcare facilities have been a target for cyberattacks and data breaches even before the pandemic. A health record that includes Protected Health Information (PHI), is more valuable than any other type of stolen data with a selling cost of up to $1,000 per medical record. With the increase in patients coming to hospitals and more information being shared on devices both on-site and at remote testing areas, it is no surprise that patient data is at risk.

Why Healthcare Is More at Risk

The employees in a hospital or another type of care center are at risk because of their current data transfer and storage habits. In many cases, a nurse or doctor may transfer patient data to third-party organizations such as an insurance company or a government organization. The more outside parties included in data transfer, the higher chance of it falling into the wrong hands.

Healthcare organizations may also have outdated equipment and systems that are more susceptible to a hack or data breach. Even with the proper equipment, if healthcare workers are not properly trained in cybersecurity, an error on their part could result in a costly breach. Many healthcare facilities, especially in the wake of a pandemic, do not have time to train employees as they transfer patient data.

There is also a question as to how data is protected at pop-up testing sites throughout the country. The portable systems that are used may not have the proper security features that are needed as people’s test results are computed after swabbing a patient’s nose or taking their blood. The data related to the virus is crucial for the country to create a plan of action and if that information is compromised or stolen, it could alter the country’s ability to navigate the virus.

How Healthcare Changed During the Pandemic

The pandemic has caused many regular physicians to work from home and see patients virtually. These family doctors simply checking in on existing patients use their own equipment, which may not be updated with the latest security leaving them vulnerable to attacks. In the more immediate sector, hospital workers may click on what appears to be a reputable website to learn more information on the virus, its numbers, and new information on reducing the spread.

These sites, however, will have been created by hackers who prey on people’s fear and thirst for knowledge on the virus. Cybercriminals may go a step further and hack the site of a third party who delivers medical supplies such as ventilators and ask the healthcare professional to confirm their information and password, leading to a takeover of their computer system.

A report from security researchers found that there were 15 times as many phishing attacks during the first two weeks of March as for the entire month of January and COVID-19-related email threats more than doubled from February to March. Overall, the World Health Organization has seen attempted cyberattacks double since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

Protecting the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare workers and any other industry utilizing technology to stay connected and productive during the pandemic need to follow these tips for maintaining secure devices and protecting sensitive information:

  • Ensure systems are up-to-date with security software, firewalls, strong passwords, and train employees on best practices.
  • Implement a protective cyber plan for your systems and create a plan that addresses your business security needs.
  • Use an ethical white-hat hacker to pentest your systems and find where you need to increase security.
  • Store critical data on hardware encrypted data storage for total security against unauthorized parties.

The SecureDrive products are hardware encrypted, HIPAA Compliant, and are designed with a tough epoxy coating for easy travel. The drives require unique authentication via mobile app or on-board keypad and have brute force anti-hacking to wipe the drive after 10 consecutive failed PIN entries, keeping data safe from hackers. Learn more about how these drives are already helping healthcare facilities by calling 1-800-875-3230.