Ransomware is an evil that strikes everyone from businesses, shops, hospitals to banks.It is more impactful than even the generic, oldcyber-attacks and can lead to the slowdownor even shut down of business operations. A malicious product that contaminates a workstation and exhibits a message asking for money to allow the system function properly again, has been creating a havoc in various industries including healthcare. The pressure of risking vitaldata, sometimes for a large amount of money, is enough a reason to protect you from the ransomware attacks.
And, now, cyber thieves are after the healthcare industry as well. Healthcare data is predominantlyadvantageous to hackersas it contains a host of important information as well, like the date of births, Social Security Numbers, along with a plenty of other medical datawhich can be utilizedcreate new identities as well as credit accounts. Ransomware attacks have already crippleda large number oforganizations in a lot of countries. The attacks have lead to massive disruption to the health services of the place where the attacks have taken place.
How does it happen?
The computer is hit by a ransomware only when the user unintentionally downloads an infection causing software to the computer. Hence, the first step is to understand what a ransomware attack is, and how to protect the company from the attack. Cybercriminals are sly in their techniques and are capableof trapping people and compelling them to click on the harmful files (which appear fine).
Ransomware in healthcare industry
Cyber thieves have gotten into the hospital networks, as well and, hence, ransomware is exponentially increasing. Ransomware has started hitting the healthcare sector, including the EHRs, more than ever. The cyber thieves are trying out various different means to earn money through the attacks, sometimes the ransom is so modest, that organizations choose to pay it off quickly to get rid of the problem. However, paying the ransom is certainly going to be harmful for the healthcare sector in the long run. Because of a ransomware attack, sometimes a user is even locked out from accessing vital solutions including the EHR integration, and may be unable to access it unless they pay a certain amount of money. This not just hampers the productivity but negatively affects the data security as well. At times, the user is even not able to access the software, even after paying the fees demanded. Ransomware is majorly about manipulation of human element, in simple words, it’s a digital spin on older criminal method.
Though, as the cyber attackers are coming up with cutting-edge means to get into the hospitals’ network, therefore, healthcare industry has to devise newer plans to create an armorto guard them from ransomware attacks. Listed below are some of the techniques through which the healthcare industry can bolster its defenses against the cyber thieves and stop ransomware attacks:
Keep an eye on the EHR security protocols
One of the most efficient techniques to stay away from the harms of the ransomware attacks is keeping a watch on the EHR security protocols. Then users should be using only the latest and cutting-edge protected software while online as well as while training staff to lessen the risk of anybodyunsuspectingly inviting ransomware in the computer or network. Hence, security protocols, and understanding of the users to identify the ransomware reduces the risk of the attack.
Keep an eye on the Environment
Cyber thieves will go always find it easy to infect the loose setting. Misconfigurations are thefundamental reason for most of the successful breaches. Secure configuration management (SCM) makes sure that the systems are set up appropriately and securely. Though, it is not be possible to completely avoid the attack, but through proper SCM systems are not unintentionally left wide-openfor outside attackers.Vulnerability management processes are important to understand, and to try and prevent the attacks.
Curate a plan to combat the ill effects of the attack
While devising plans to ward off ransomware attacks, healthcare experts should very well know in advance, that what will be their first steps to perform if their system gets affected by the attack. By designing a good plan, companies may be able to get rid of attack and its affect even without paying any fees.
Healthcare organizations should prepare efficient risk assessments and business impact strategies, along with a list of the systems to make sure they have everything ready if they get that noxious pop up message.
Ransomware attacks are absolutely not inevitability. Ransomwareinfections are mainly the outcome of exploiting outdated browsers, plugins etc. However, through proper prevention measures, and plans healthcare data can be saved from the attacks.