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Useful Tips to Protect Hospitals & Healthcare from Ransomware Attacks, Cyber Attacks and Security Breaches

Bradley Cooper | June 8th, 2018 | Data Recovery, How To, Security, Tips|

Nowadays, cyber attacks and security breaches are becoming more common for healthcare organizations and hospitals. There are thousands of systems that have been affected by the cyber attacks in healthcare. These issues are able to expose the patient’s private data and health information.

 

Let us see some of the cases in which hospitals paid a good amount of dollars to hackers to return decryption key.

  • In the UK, due to the hospital ransomware attack work was shut down at 16 hospitals. When the employees tried to access their computers, they were demanded $300 in bitcoins.

 

  • To unlock the systems that were infected by the ransomware, Hancock Health paid $55,000 to hackers.

 

  • An Indiana hospital also suffered from the attack of ransomware that was SamSam. The hospital paid approximately $45000 to hackers. After that hospital administrators received the decryption key from the hackers.

 

  • The Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in the US paid $17,000 to hackers so that they can access their data.

In the last year 2017, the world faced two hospital ransomware attacks that were WannaCry and Petya. Around 150 countries were affected by the WannaCry virus and 65 countries detected Petya virus. There was a very terrible and negative impact of these viruses on the victims.

Most of the hackers and criminals demand money in bitcoins for virus de-activation. According to a report, in 2016 the average compensation amount demanded was $294. Now, hackers demand approximately, $1,077 on average, to decrypt the data or to provide access to computer files. In 2015, due to the CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware attack, hackers gained $325 million in revenues. But the most important question is how to protect medical organizations from such ransomware and other cyber threats.

As hospitals and healthcare organizations are the prime targets for the hackers. To protect the medical institution from such cyber attacks, one should improve virtual data security system & Implement healthcare cybersecurity preventive measures. Therefore, in this blog, we are going to discuss some useful tips to protect hospitals from cyber attacks in healthcare.

Tips to Protect Medical Organizations from Ransomware Attack

To safeguard the systems and patient’s information one should follow the tips given below to prevent hospital ransomware attacks:

  • Install a Reliable and High-level Security Software
  • Automatic Updates
  • Provide Security Awareness Training
  • Develop a Smart Backup Strategy
  • Ensure Proper Access Management
  • Always be Ready with a Disaster Recovery Plan

1. Install a Reliable and High-level Security Software

It is not necessary that if the hospitals are using the antivirus, they are fully protected. There were many organizations that suffered from ransomware like Petya or WannaCry even after having antivirus software installed on their systems. Basically, antivirus software only protects from the known viruses as it uses signature-matching-based protection. When there is the attack of a new virus then even the most expensive antivirus solutions are not able to provide protection against it. Therefore, it is suggested to all the healthcare providers to install endpoint security software to their systems to get a high-level protection against ransomware to prevent cyber attacks in healthcare.

2. Automatic Updates

Most of the medical organizations are using the outdated software according to the report provided by Duo Security. Such outdated software contains many flaws due to which they are not able to fight against the ransomware attacks. Therefore, healthcare providers should automate their software updation process to reduce the risk of data breach and prevent ransomware attack on their hospitals.

3. Provide Security Awareness Training

Make sure to provide security awareness training to all the employees. This will help them to avoid the critical mistakes that can lead to data breach. It is important to train all the workforce members regarding the privacy and security policies. To ensure the healthy virtual protection it is necessary to provide the high level of security awareness among all the employees. This will help the staff to avoid and recognize the potential dangers.

4. Develop a Smart Backup Strategy

Creating a smart backup strategy is one of the best options to keep your data secure & Prevent hospital ransomware attacks. As regular backups will help healthcare providers to restore all their data and patient’s information in the event of ransomware attack. By checking the following aspects given below healthcare providers can make sure that their backup system is enabled or not.

  • How regular your system creates backups?
  • The amount of time your system takes to restore all the data using backup
  • Location where backups are stored

The requirement of creating the backup on daily basis depends upon the amount of the new data received by an organization.

5. Ensure Proper Access Management

By providing limited access to all the data and credentials to each employ one can protect organization’s data from data breach and ransomware attack. There should be a proper access management for a medical organization. Access to information should be given to employees depending upon the employee’s role and specialization. This principle is known as least privilege. The records must be maintained that contains all information that is who is accessing data. The time and location from where that data is accessed.

6. Always be Ready with a Disaster Recovery Plan

It is important that all the medical organization should have a disaster recovery plan at the time of hospital ransomware attack. The healthcare provider must ready to deal with any potential disruption to patients treatment or services at the time of virus attack. Moreover, the plan should consist of all the preventive measure that can be taken as soon as possible at the time of ransomware attack. Creation of a recovery plan will help the medical organization to restore the valuable information & prevent cyber attacks in healthcare.

Final Words

For all the hackers and criminals, hospitals are the most preferred and easy targets. Additionally, healthcare cyber attacks cause a lot of financial loss to medical organizations. So, medical providers should take some healthcare cybersecurity steps to ensure that their systems and data is protected against the ransomware and other cyber threats. Therefore, through this blog, we have discussed some useful tips that would help the medical organization to protect hospitals from ransomware attacks.

 

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