With the rampant coronavirus continuing to harm individuals and businesses far and wide, healthcare organizations are becoming more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, putting critical and sensitive information at great risk. In October 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a joint cybersecurity alert about the increased and imminent cybersecurity threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.
Fast forward to January 2021, in a report released by Check Point, cyberattacks against healthcare organizations globally have increased by a staggering 45% since November 1st, 2020, which is more than double the average 22% increase in cyberattacks across all industry sectors. The attacks included various threats such as ransomware, botnets, remote code execution, and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), with ransomware being increasingly employed.
In this study, Check Point found that Ryuk, a type of ransomware, is designed to target the healthcare industry. Ransomware is more regularly used in healthcare-targeted threats because it relies on an organization’s need to keep its systems up and running.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) designated healthcare as one of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors because this sector plays a significant role in response and recovery in the event of national crises. As a result, it is equally critical to ensure the ongoing operations of the healthcare sector’s security system. While not all healthcare organizations have faced imminent cyberattacks, all healthcare organizations are at risk and patients’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI) are always in jeopardy of being compromised.
So what can healthcare organizations do to protect themselves against cyber threats?
There are many best practices healthcare providers can utilize to secure their organizations against these attacks, including implementing a cost-effective cybersecurity framework to identify, protect, and recover critical assets, as well as to detect and respond to security breaches. Below is a cybersecurity framework that hospitals and medical practices should proactively follow and implement to prepare for a possible cyberattack.
In conclusion, technology is both a friend and a foe to healthcare professionals alike. While it has paved the road for medical breakthroughs to transpire, it can also serve as the demises to practices around the world.
Dealing with the lives of patients is a critical task to take on, but so is properly managing their sensitive information. The first step to staying ahead of cybersecurity threats is to know what they look like. Being prepared to curtail threats can save medical professionals much time and stress. By identifying the red flags and having a system in place that is utilized on a regular basis can mean the difference between life and fatality.
For more information and to gain access to our 26-page IT checklist, contact our Medical Practice team today.
About Tu Nguyen
Senior Finance Consultant
Tu Nguyen holds the position of Senior Finance Consultant at Ryan & Wetmore, P.C., where she primarily works with clients on business consulting, financial planning & analysis, mergers & acquisitions, and various healthcare projects. Tu earned her M.A. degree in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Lake Forest College in Illinois.
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About Traci Getz
Partner & CPA
Traci is a partner with Ryan & Wetmore, PC and is based in our Frederick, MD office. The Frederick office is home to the firm’s small business services department. Traci currently works with clients on individual, corporate, and tax compliance issues along with a variety of accounting and consulting services for small and medium-sized business owners.
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About Peter Ryan
Partner, Co-founder, & CPA
Peter T. Ryan co-founded Ryan & Wetmore in 1988 with business partner Michael J. Wetmore. Peter provides clients with the best strategies for success. His expertise extends across various industries, including healthcare. Peter obtained a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the Catholic University of America.
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