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Cybercrime Is Evolving — Is Your Healthcare Organization Ready?

Cybercrime has become a global problem. No matter what industry you’re in, you have to be concerned about the growing number of phishing attacks, ransomware, and other viruses.

Today’s cybercriminals are often backed by huge governments like those in Russia, China or North Korea. Hacking has become big business in these countries. There’s almost no risk, and those who are really good at it can net millions of dollars a year. It’s a perfect crime. There’s no punishment and there’s always a big payday to be had.

Where Cybercrime Is Heading

Unfortunately, cybercrime is growing and evolving with more sophisticated and targeted attacks each year. For companies that are heavily regulated, it’s necessary to take every precaution to avoid being a victim. The fines and damage to your reputation could be extensive.

Patient records and even medical devices are major targets of ransomware. What if cybercriminals were able to hack into a patient’s pacemaker and hold them for ransom? This could be a deadly blow for some. And it’s happening more often than you think.

Frank W. Abagnale, an FBI consultant for over 40 years, shares this fear when he said:

“I’m very concerned with cyber starting to turn very dark. Up until now it’s just a financial crime for the purpose of stealing money –but we have the ability now to turn someone’s pacemaker off.”

It is estimated that by 2021 there will be a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, compared to 2016 where there was an attack every 40 seconds. Unfortunately for healthcare organizations, the weakest point of entry is their end-users or employees. This is where 80-90% of all breaches start, primarily via email. The way to mitigate this is with regular employee training programs.

How To Prepare

The number one thing that healthcare professionals can do is to realize that they could very well become a victim of some type of cybercrime. If you run a healthcare organization or medical clinic in Massachusetts, or anywhere today, you must prepare for these attacks.

An alarming number of medical practices, hospitals and healthcare organizations are being hit with ransomware and malware viruses. This can bring your operations to a halt and cost you thousands of dollars in ransom, fines and litigation.

One thing that can be beneficial is to hire an experienced IT Services Company. They’ll come out and do a full assessment of your existing cybersecurity programs. Once you know the state of your current IT security, you can begin to shore up the weak areas. They can provide services like:

  • Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking to reveal how effective your IT security measures are.
  • A Cybersecurity Plan that outlines what your people should do if a breach does occur.
  • Comprehensive protection for laptops, servers, tablets, and other computing devices such as patient check-in kiosks.
  • Mobile Device Monitoring with security for all mobile devices and support for your BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Plan.
  • Daily onsite and offsite backups of your computer system.
  • Security Awareness Training to educate your employees.
  • Security Services with layered intrusion prevention including firewalls, managed antivirus, data encryption, email and web protection.
  • Remote monitoring and management of your network and computers that detects intruders and blocks them immediately.

Protect Your Healthcare Organization Against Cybercrime

Although these statistics are alarming, the best course of action is to prepare for the worst. As these threats continue to evolve, the only thing you can do is to simply be one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Excellent cybersecurity is a must these days! But the good news is that you can protect your healthcare organization and your patients’ information by staying informed and ahead of the curve. Take the appropriate actions. Make sure your data is protected by today’s best security. Don’t be a victim!

GDS works with Local Hospitals, Covered Entities and Business Associates Across the United States.

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