How Cyber Security is Changing Healthcare

Discover the recurring cyber security issues, key market trends, and learn how cyber security is changing healthcare.

How Cyber Security is Changing Healthcare

The healthcare industry is exposed to some of the most significant cyber risks and has been seen as a prime target by attackers. Given how rewarding medical databases can be, healthcare is hugely targeted, with medical data seen as an incentive for cyber criminals.

With this in mind, it may be unsurprising to learn that the health industry experiences more data breaches than any other sector. Therefore, keeping pace with the rapidly-moving security landscape is crucial.

Continue reading as we dive into the recurring cyber security issues in healthcare, key market trends we have seen, and learn how cyber security is changing healthcare.

Cyber Risks in Healthcare

Digitised patient records ensure the accessibility and integrity of data, however, this has performed as a catalyst for healthcare cyber attacks, with criminals seeking access to this confidential data through hacking, lost or stolen devices, or unauthorised internal access.

Combined with outdated devices used by medical professionals to monitor patient health, these devices and digital records act as an entry point for hackers. Medical devices are critical to patient care, however, are all too often the target of cyber criminals. Manufacturers must work towards implementing security measures to keep patients and data secure.

With human error a factor in 95% of security breaches, employee error creates a significant threat in healthcare. Cyber security in healthcare protects data and assets from unauthorised access, use, loss, and disclosure. However, in an already overstretched industry, cyber security is typically an afterthought.

Recent Cyber Attacks on Healthcare

With accelerated remote working, digitised records, outdated systems, and a severe lack of security infrastructure, we have witnessed some alarming ​​healthcare cyber security market trends.

Most recently, OneTouchPoint, a third-party mailing and printing vendor, fell victim to a serious data breach that resulted in a leak of patient data belonging to over 30 healthcare organisations across the United States.

Compromised data belonging to 2.6 million patients included names, addresses, personal health data, clinical notes, health assessment test results, and patient medical records. Employee ID numbers belonging to workers of the healthcare organisations were also exposed.

In August of 2022, we witnessed a ransomware attack on Advanced, an IT service provider for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) that provides software for various parts of the health service. The cyber attack affected a multitude of healthcare services, including ambulance dispatch, out-of-hours appointments, emergency prescriptions, mental health services, and patient referrals.

Attackers initially accessed the network days prior to the attack using “legitimate” third-party credentials, before escalating privileges to further deploy encryption malware.

The National Cyber Security Centre and the Information Commissioner’s Office worked with Advanced in the aftermath of the incident that saw widespread outages across the NHS. Attackers were confirmed to have gained access to confidential data during the NHS ransomware attack, however, it hasn’t yet been confirmed if patient data was compromised.

Why Is Cyber Security Important in Healthcare?

The healthcare industry lags behind other sectors that often build their infrastructure with data security in mind. Cyber security is and should be, critical to all industries, including healthcare.

Safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of confidential information is now a top priority for all healthcare organisations.

However, effective healthcare cyber security demands a base set of skills that the NHS and public sector healthcare organisations are unable to deliver. Cyber security attacks in healthcare, such as the ransomware attack that recently hit the NHS, are excessively time-consuming and resource intensive to recover from. Understanding the importance of cyber security in healthcare and the severity of threats is vital.

Time and funding must be invested now to protect the healthcare industry against the growing risk of operation disruption, day-to-day patient functions, recovery costs, and in some cases, can very tangibly affect patient lives.

Preparing the Healthcare Sector Against Attacks

With the healthcare sector seeing an alarming spate of attacks, cyber security risks in healthcare should be prioritised through tailored security policies, alongside appropriately managing cyber and IT risk with active risk management.

Those working to defend against attacks in the sector must keep pace with new developments, threats, and cyber security issues in healthcare. Conducting regular blue and red team exercises, alongside ongoing training and upskilling, will enable security teams to take action and mitigate the growing risks.

Our training pathways explore high-level offensive and defensive security content, allowing security teams to stay on top of emerging threats and advances in the industry, and are perfect for the entirety of those working within the healthcare sector.

TryHackMe consists of over 640 real-world training labs to teach these topics in-action, arming your team with the knowledge needed for defensive security operations.