HealthCare Tech Official
September 21, 2017

Healthcare Tech Terms: What is Cyber Security in Health?

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What is Cyber Security in Healthcare?

Cybersecurity is the name for a body of technologies, processes and practices, intended to protect networks, computers, programs and valuable data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. Naturally, the need for secure data is crucial when it comes to the sensitive and personal information stored by the healthcare industry - EHRs, contact information, medical histories and more make for extremely valuable information.

Healthcare institutions are on the rise as a prime victim of Cyberattacks, in which this data is ransomed, or stolen to use in future, with over 113 Americans having their health information stolen in 2015 alone. With well over 20 major attacks so far in 2017, it's becoming clear that the health sector drastically needs to improve on their cybersecurity measures. 

Read More; Big Data in Health

Why are Cyberattacks such a threat to Healthcare?

Firstly, healthcare data in particular is very valuable, and can be monetized. Cybercriminals can use the information to create fake identities, false prescriptions, and conduct medical identity theft. Further to this, medical information health by institutions tends to have at least enough information to open a bank account or use a card, in the victim's name. Ultimately, ransomware hackers can also demand the healthcare organization pay them an extortionate amount for the return and security of the data.

Healthcare institutions are also notoriously slow on the upkeep. Most health care portals, for example, don’t have multifactor authentication, and employees are not aware of the dangers of cyberhacking and other security threats to data. 

Ultimately, the industry with the most sensitive, valuable information (outside of banking), is also the industry least aware of the risks, and least able to adapt.

Cyber security and hacking in healthcare

How can we improve Cybersecurity in the Healthcare Industry?

#1: Purchasing Insurance

The Financial sector long ago started ensuring there was cyber insurance on their vital information, but in actual fact most leaders of health care organizations and boards of directors are not even aware that it exists. However, this also requires greater thought - who pays, and who should be protected, the institutions or the patients?

#2: Cybersecurity/Technology Training for Personnel

Phishing attacks (fake emails sent designed to look like a bank, online shop, or other personal account that then ask for important information) are one of the key issues for providers, and they occur simply because of human error. Training for personnel that stresses the importance of protecting data and personal information can prove extremely beneficial, provided it is regularly conducted, and encouraged.

#3: Deployment of Strong Authenication Practises

Most U.S. consumers already use security steps like multifactor authentication in their day-to-day lives, and won’t need to be reeducated in understanding this crucial step to data protection. Luckily, the Financial Services sector took on this task over a decade ago!

Further Reading: 

The Internet of Medical Things White Paper


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