Patient Data Breach – Cybercriminals Targeting Healthcare Organizations

Patient Data Breach

Medical records are invaluable for malicious actors in the dark web

Medical data hold a high value on the dark web, due to a huge amount of personal data and information they can yield. Threat actors can trade the stolen healthcare data for a substantial profit for each record – a primary reason that encourages them to prefer this as the payoff is worthy.

Unsurprisingly there is a surge in cyber-attacks on the healthcare companies amid the coronavirus. However, it has always been there – the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office identified more healthcare data breach in 2019, compared to that in the five years between 2009 and 2014. This indicates the growing threats to healthcare records have had been a trend for years.

This surge in cyber attack complicates the security landscape and raises questions if hospitals do not possess the necessary infrastructure to protect consumer data and their privacy.

Many healthcare organizations have often been found leveraging telehealth platforms that are not meant for the sector. Such activities have somewhat increased the risk – by inheriting the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of such platforms.

As a result, medical organizations need to analyze the vulnerability link between cyber-security and patient care on priority. Investing in cyber-security solutions could, therefore, ensure that they have the best controls in place to secure the patients’ personal data, related information, brand image, and the business – while complying with the HIPAA requirements.

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Furthermore, the patient data record potentially holds insight that could inflict harm to the owner of the data. Along with personally identifiable data, the documents include sensitive and personal information – such as medications, blood type, medical devices in use, allergies, and past procedures. Such information can be exploited to commit identity theft, blackmail, insurance fraud, or even carry out bodily harm.

Lately, with the ongoing pandemic, healthcare data is becoming a prime interest to the widespread cyber attackers. They have reportedly been looking to steal research data and clinical trials to mitigate the risk and resolve issues in their country.

This is apparently helping create an economic as well as political advantage by being the ‘first’ in the market on a critical vaccine or innovation.

Hence, medical organizations need to ensure their infrastructure and technology is secure by using the platforms that are precisely designed for their use. Besides, they should certainly meet legal and privacy requirements.

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To secure medical records, the systems demands to be configured as per the security standards, with visibility for the patient owned devices and the endpoints.

Clearly, healthcare providers must have visibility into what is happening around – monitoring suspicious activity in real-time to stop or mitigate the threats.