All of the cybersecurity concerns that any firm faces as well as particular difficulties specific to the healthcare industry exist. They must defend against attacks on their endpoints, databases and networks. They are in charge of safeguarding the confidential financial and medical data of their patients and staff. They frequently defend priceless intellectual property. They also face difficulties that few other companies do. Over the past ten years, the number of connected medical devices has skyrocketed. Today, almost all medical devices are web-enabled or linked to the organisation’s operational network.
Some of the challenges faced in healthcare cybersecurity are:
Very few healthcare professionals are unaware of the significant cybersecurity concerns that the sector is facing. It has not gone unnoticed that they are the business sector that is most frequently assaulted.
Healthcare cybersecurity refers to the practices, measures, and technologies implemented to protect healthcare systems, networks, devices, and sensitive patient data from cyber threats and unauthorised access. It involves safeguarding electronic health records [EHRs], medical devices, telemedicine platforms, and other digital healthcare infrastructure from data breaches, ransomware attacks, malware infections, and other malicious activities. Healthcare cybersecurity aims to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of patient information, ensuring its privacy and preventing any disruptions to critical healthcare services. This field encompasses various strategies, including risk assessments, security policies and procedures, network and system monitoring, access controls, encryption, employee training, and incident response planning, all aimed at reducing vulnerabilities and mitigating potential cybersecurity risks in the healthcare industry.
Cybersecurity threats in healthcare include data breaches (unauthorised access to patient information), ransomware attacks (malicious software demanding ransom for data release), phishing and social engineering (deceptive tactics to trick healthcare employees), insider threats (misuse or disclosure of patient data by authorised individuals), malware infections (malicious software compromising systems), DDoS attacks (overwhelming networks), medical device vulnerabilities (exploitation of device weaknesses), unauthorized access (breaches in access controls), third-party risks (vulnerabilities in vendors), and lack of security awareness and training. These threats jeopardise patient privacy, data integrity, and healthcare services, necessitating robust cybersecurity measures in the industry.
In healthcare, different types of security measures include physical security (protecting physical assets and restricting access), network security (securing computer networks and systems), data security (ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of patient data), application security (protecting software and applications from vulnerabilities), and user access management (controlling and monitoring user access to systems and data). These measures collectively aim to safeguard sensitive patient information, prevent unauthorised access, and mitigate cybersecurity risks in the healthcare industry.
Cybersecurity in healthcare is particularly challenging due to various factors. The healthcare industry deals with vast amounts of sensitive patient data, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals. Additionally, the increasing adoption of connected medical devices and the complexity of healthcare IT systems create multiple entry points for potential attacks. Limited budgets and resources, lack of cybersecurity expertise among healthcare professionals, and the need to balance patient care with security measures further contribute to the difficulty of implementing robust cybersecurity practices in healthcare.