Security has become an important aspect of everybody’s life and digitalization of every field has given rise to security concerns in more areas. The most important is cybersecurity in healthcare.
Healthcare used to be straightforward path that started from provider and ended at customer or payer. Customers or patients were first engaged with their primary care physicians and if required then only they were referred to another defined network of care providers. This happened only in cases that required specialized care or emergency care. Although the environment was static but it required security too. Actually, securing that environment was far more straightforward as all the devices were located at one place in a campus or hospital environment. Moreover almost all the physicians also worked within that location and were secured completely with the traditional perimeter-based security.
But now healthcare has become a diverse field that involves whole lot of consumers and payers that are located at faraway places from each other. Moreover the consumers are using technology through various kinds of mHealth apps, wearable medical devices, and other home based (distant) medical technology. Their main motive in becoming technology savvy is to experience improved care that also gives them high flexibility in usage.
Digital revolution in healthcare
Due to digitalization, healthcare is being delivered by new models that have new attacking vectors. The usual healthcare that involved diagnosis, treatment and monitoring has now transformed with technology. Physicians are working in new ways and have become much more vulnerable to cyber criminals. Wearable medical devices, electronic health records (EHRs), Patient management system, cloud-based data storage, and a flood of mobile health (mHealth) apps have made the situation helpless. These advances have also expanded the opportunities for cyber-crime, like:
- Business email compromise (BEC)
- Polymorphic malware
- Weaponized documents
- Credential phishing attacks
- Robbing the private patient health data
- Manipulating medical device vulnerabilities
- Tapping off institutional data
- Holding patient records for ransom etc.
In almost all the above cases, it starts with an email that is fascinating enough to be opened by the unaware healthcare staff. But by the time a threat is detected or noticed, the real culprit has already become active and entered into the environment to hurt people, steal the data, and tarnish the brand. The important thing here is to make efforts to stop these threats before employees even get the chance to click and infect themselves.
Cyber-crime target people rather than technical vulnerabilities and it have now become very important for healthcare organizations to follow a people-centered approach in detecting, blocking, and responding to healthcare-related cybercrime. One of the basic securities provided by almost every email gateway is that it can filter email and keep spam out of the organization. Although it can provide some basic protection but is definitely not enough to block advanced threats, including socially engineered attacks.
That is why advanced protection is the need of every healthcare organization that works in the flow of email to secure the delivery and coordination of care in every environment.
What is the solution?
The most valuable solution for Cyber-security must have following capabilities:
- Cloud-based sandbox analysis: This involves analysis of the suspicious files and URLs in emails using static and dynamic techniques to capture advanced threats and record the patterns. This may provide vital forensic insight about who is attacking and for what they are attacking.
- Automated data loss protection (DLP) and encryption: This would help in finding and protecting the data that needs to be protected. Automated encryption will protect every data that makes its way outside the defined network.
- Seclusions for already-delivered email: This involves automatic retraction of malicious emails that have already been delivered to users’ inboxes. This will help in containing email threats far more quickly and reduce exposure time.
- Email authentication: This will protect the organization from phishing attacks that come from domains that belong to the trusted business partners and customers. As there will be complete visibility on who is sending email across your enterprise, all legitimate senders can be identified and fraudulent ones can be blocked.
Apart from these, there can be other solutions too depending upon the situation and possible cyber-crime. But as it’s said in healthcare “Prevention is better than Cure”, so be prepared before it attacks you.
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