Cyberthreats are on the Top of Health Care’s Heap of Hazards

There’s a troubling discrepancy at the moment in health care organizations’ perceptions about security strategies, versus the reality. The perception, according to a recent IBM study, among 77 percent of health care institutions is that cyber security is strong, and confidence in their ability to fend off threats is high.

The clashing reality, according to Security Scorecard, is that more than 75 percent of health care organizations were infected with some variation malware in 2016. Medical instrument manufacturers performed the worst, with an 88 percent infection rate. However, medical treatment centers still accounted for 95 percent of malware intrusions. The on-the-nose explanation here is that there are many more medical treatment centers than medical manufacturing facilities – but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Botnets, Legacy IT and Ransomware

One of the reasons medical treatments face such significant risk is because of the increasing number of Internet-of-Things devices for patient care. These wireless devices are all potential gateways into hospital networks. If not properly managed, they can be manipulated or used as ammunition in distributed denial-of-service attacks.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many facilities continue to run legacy IT systems without properly patching them or ensuring their sanitation. This helps explain why so many facilities exhibit traces of malware.

Last but not least, hospitals and other medical facilities are hit with 88 percent of all ransomware attacks, according to Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review. The reason hackers so frequently attempt to exploit hospitals is because the stakes of an intrusion are so high. The inability of health care providers to access digital medical records and other vital data can affect the quality of care provided to patients. Cybercriminals are operating under the assumption that they’re more likely to receive ransom money if they infect a hospital, and in many cases, that’s exactly what happens.

Treatment facilities are at high risk of malware intrusions.

What’s Next for Health Care?

Hopefully, smarter cybersecurity. By that we don’t mean more perimeter defenses. Having active protection is important, but prevention is only useful until it fails – and these failures aren’t always easy to detect.  A key logger, for example, may run in the background on computers, capturing keystrokes for account credentials, personally identifiable information and other sensitive data, and then sending it out through a backdoor Trojan.

Ongoing system restores are therefore an essential component of a strong cybersecurity strategy. The only problem is that manual re-imaging is extremely time-consuming. To address this issue, Faronics Deep Freeze employs reboot to restore software that instantaneously restores back pristine system configurations upon a system restart. This ensures that no malware can live on the system for long. It can also act as a ransomware remediation mechanism, which is hugely important for hospitals.

Additionally, Deep Freeze is a computer management tool that can be used to keep hospital endpoints in good health. Learn more about how Deep Freeze can improve health care cybersecurity.

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.