Cyberattacks threaten patients’ lives in the healthcare industry

2 years ago

The healthcare industry can effectively protect itself from cyberattacks with an SASE framework.

In recent years, the global healthcare industry has been under heavy attack by cybercriminals. The sector stands in fourth place among the most targeted industries, and one-fifth of its spending is dedicated to cybersecurity. The global healthcare cybersecurity market was valued at 12.6 billion dollars in 2021 and is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of 18.3% from 2022 to 2030.

93% of healthcare organizations faced a data breach

The healthcare industry has suffered from significant growth in the number of cyberattacks. Forty-five million records of patients were exposed to healthcare attacks in 2021, a number that has tripled in the last three years. One-third of all significant data breaches targeted hospital accounts. Thirty-four percent of data breaches are related to unauthorized access to healthcare networks. Furthermore, 1.5 billion users’ personally identifiable information (PII) was leaked due to third-party violations in 2021. Ninety-three percent of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach in 2016-2019 and a quarter of physicians couldn’t identify the common signs of malware.

Outdated technologies threaten patients’ privacy

Cybercriminals targeting the health industry use ransomware, phishing, DDoS, IoT malware attacks, data breaches, and other attack vectors to gather information to reach sensitive data. They mainly target medical records, social security numbers, contact details, intellectual property, research findings, and internal system alterations in the healthcare industry. With ransomware attacks, cyberattackers can obtain financial gain by locking systems related to patient care and the administrative structure of institutions. Record-keeping systems that are out of date threaten patients’ privacy due to their security vulnerabilities. Patient-related information can be sold for the most money on the dark web compared with other industries. While cyberattacks on the healthcare industry damage the institutions with the aim of financial gain, they may even make an attempt on the lives of patients. Cyberattackers may alter laboratory results through a data breach or hack the remote medical equipment of patients. This may put the lives of patients at risk.

SASE can decrease the risks

Most medical devices rely on outdated technologies, and the lack of awareness about cybersecurity among medical staff causes the health sector to be affected by cyberattacks. However, healthcare organizations can decrease the risk of cyberattacks by deploying a layered SASE architecture.

Juta Gurinaviciute, the chief technology officer at NordLayer, says, “Considering that many users in the networks of health institutions operate in a scattered structure, health organizations should prevent the network from becoming complex in the first stage. And in the second stage, they should create security policies based on the zero trust approach to neutralize internal and external threats.”

The way to do this is through SASE, which provides health organizations to monitor and limit access through authentication and authorization. Gurinaviciute says, “SASE addresses the challenges of static and complex approaches to network security as it can be managed from a single source. And it delivers a secure network connection to authorized users of the network wherever they are. When it comes to patient confidentiality, healthcare organizations can strengthen security levels at different layers and improve agility and mobility in a modern cybersecurity environment with a SASE architecture.”

SASE brings best-in-class networking, security, and observability functions under one roof by including a software-defined wide-area network, a secure web gateway, a firewall as a service, a cloud access security agent, and zero-trust network access (ZTNA). SASE provides these tools as a cloud service, allowing decentralized, digital businesses like those in the healthcare industry to thrive.


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