The last decade has been a challenging time for healthcare organizations. Every few months, we have heard about a cyber-attack on a healthcare organization, bringing to the fore the importance of high quality IT support for these organizations. More than any other time in modern history, healthcare organizations have been a constant target as hackers continuously look for loopholes that would give them access to these organizations.
A review of cyber security for the year 2015 revealed that it may have been the worst year for healthcare institutions, yet 2016 had its fair share of these attacks. The question, therefore, becomes: why do healthcare organizations make for such a perfect target for hackers? Consider the following:
Hackers consider medical records a goldmine
Simply put, medical records can change a hacker’s fortunes if he finds the right buyer. The cyber space today makes it relatively easy for people to sell information in the black market. And with just some simple internet skills, even an amateur hacker can stay hidden from the authorities while peddling people’s medical information on the deep web.
A typical medical record will have a lot of information, personal and otherwise, of the patient. This information is often used for identity theft. Using someone else’s information, these criminals can commit fraud, sell and buy drugs with little fear that law enforcement agencies will catch up with them.
Healthcare organizations are easily threatened
As ransomware takes centerstage as one of the most way that hackers are using to make money, healthcare institutions continue to suffer the brunt of their criminal efforts. Perhaps, given the sensitivity of the information that healthcare organizations store, they easily succumb to threats by cyber criminals.
Furthermore, just a few hours of downtime for a hospital could have far-reaching implications to the hospital and its patients. Consequently, many healthcare facilities choose to pay off hackers rather than risk the lives of their patients and the sensitive information that has been entrusted them.
Medical environments can often be complex and vast
More often than not, healthcare organizations have large as well as extremely complicated environments. From having a big workforce to storing sensitive information for employees as well as the patients, the mere size of the information databases is a huge pull for hackers.