Reasons of cyberattacks on Healthcare IoT devices and possible solutions

05/30/2021

Towards the end of 2020, the ratio of cyberattacks in the healthcare industry increased by 45%. They are doubling the speed of attacks in various parts of the world as hackers exploit rapid development in the healthcare industry. At the same time, the medical community's focus is on the Covid-19 pandemic.

In conjunction with the financial sector, medical care organizations are more likely to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Financial institutions are better guaranteed today because the business has invested more time and money in improving the situation. They spend about 15% of their finance on IT to improve their network security. Collectively, most medical services organizations require dedicated network security teams and may spend about 4% or 5% of their revenue on security.

The motivation of hackers is mainly money. The welfare record contains state-controlled retirement records, driving license and insurance details, prescription data, and employer details. This information is enough for hackers to buy medical devices or equipment, file fraudulent claims for insurance, and even file fraudulent tax returns. Hackers don't stop right there. They sell the information as well on various platforms like the dark web to people around the world.

However, in most cases these days, hackers use alternative ways of gaining money from healthcare organizations. They do not go after exploiting the individual data because that never helps them to get more money. Rather they launch ransomware attacks in which they lock the hospital out of their system while holding the patient data as a hostage, and hospitals have to pay a lump sum amount of money to gain the access back.

Cyberattacks on the medical industry

  • The medical care industry is helpless against cyberattacks, including malware, ransomware information breaks, crypto-jacking, and DDoS.
  • The consequences of a network breach for a hospital are quite drastic. It results in loss of reputation as well as loss of data of the patient.
  • To stop cyberattacks on medical devices, you need to screen and section devices, keep programming refreshed and carry out a reaction plan to an assault.

This article is for clinical practices, medical clinics, and other medical services associations intrigued by better patient information and organizations.

The internet of things (IoT) – Nowadays, there is a steady growth of connected devices all across the globe. Such developments are almost noticeable in every organization these days. From producers to retailers, organizations ensure the devices must link with one another to catch more information across more business cycles, and clinical practices are the same.

Today, the standard emergency clinic room contains 15 to 20 devices connected to one and other. In certain emergency clinics, the number of these connected devices is more than the number of cell phones. A huge emergency clinic could be home to 85,000 connected medical devices. At the same time, every one of these devices has a critical part in the conveyance of care and operational productivity. However, all these devices are at risk of malicious cyberattacks.

Bunches of IoT devices, combined with the free progression of patient information in the organization, make huge blind spots internally about what's going on. Where the perimeter security goes blind is one of the biggest threats to the organization's network.

The effect of the pandemic

Hospitals are weak, especially when you visualize the number of medical devices and the structures they use. The US General hospital has more than 30,000 items connected to one and others for easy information flow. These all devices are either outdated in terms of software or unpatched, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks.

There are hundreds of major medical clinics and medical care networks in the US with well-organized facilities to deal with security issues. These networks include the security team, CISO, and CIO.

Everything is general, and they need to rely on IT offices to deal with everything. In these cases, IT teams are responsible for formal IT tasks and, as such, aim to find out how they can integrate the huge task of finding, fixing, updating, and evaluating the organization.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this weakness, as all efforts have focused on the growing number of patients, including the rapid development of new features, leaving no doubt a small opportunity to consider safety implications.

The process requiring experts' time and full attention not to leave a single loophole is now underway in addition to the already tragic situation. These cyber attackers decided to go for the week spot by targeting the hospitals. To gain more amount of ransom by hijacking the system. The estimates show that the number of cyberattacks on hospitals increased by 500% during the global pandemic.

Reasons the healthcare industry is under cyberattack

Medical care organizations are the potential target of cyberattacks for multiple reasons.

1. Patient details are valuable assets

Medical care organizations receive, create, store and transmit large amounts of patient confidential information, making their organizations and related devices well-targeted by cyber attacks. While the average cost of data coming in by 2020 was $ 3.86 million for every single industry worldwide, medical services have the highest price in the industry - typically $ 7.13 million, according to IBM Security's annual report.

Medical care providers can significantly reduce their risk of infiltration, malware, and high HIPAA and European Union's General Data Protection Regulation by placing resources on security planning, computer use, and responding (SOAR) - a framework aimed at creating identification standards and reducing response and control time.

2. Clinic devices are easy to target

The large number of medical devices connected with different manufacturers makes it difficult for IT professionals to keep track of them. While clinical devices keep critical measures of patient information, they can be a weak target for these attackers to get into the data-rich system. Every hospital's responsibility is to keep an eye on these week links to protect themselves from such attacks. That is only possible when hospitals priorities network security.

3. Medical staff are not adequately educated about information security

As medical devices are an easy target for cyberattacks, it proves to be a life-threatening situation sometimes. The German clinic endured a ransomware attack in September 2020, halted the admission of new patients, and forced the transfer of critically ill patients. One patient lost his life in all this process while the hospital administration restored the network. With the adoption of devices connected and having cloud storage for storing sensitive patient information, everyone working in your medical organization is a security team member. For this reason, it is fundamental for you and your employees to adopt a zero-trust security model to restrict illegal access to classified information.

4. Patient information is shared remotely with various medical care providers

The rise in telemedicine and the combined effort among clinical providers dramatically increases a patient's chances of receiving the best possible care. Finding patient information in a remote climate is increasingly difficult, it may be. Many organizations use multidisciplinary and risk-based verification strategies to differentiate and accept and grant access to authorized people across all locations and devices. It is the job of the IT department to keep track of unusual activities and enhance the security protocols.

5. Healthcare organizations with small infrastructure are more vulnerable

Large medical care organizations keep very detailed information, making it a very significant focus on cyberattack risks. When it comes to the organization with small setups and limited resource, hackers consider them a potential target. Small healthcare organizations should go for cloud storage hosted by a company. Doing this helps reduce the complexity of IT and security the healthcare organization is responsible for taking care of hospital security.

How to prevent the cyberattacks on Healthcare IoT Devices

Perhaps the best way to prevent attacks lies in the staff of a hospital. All authorities should have a basic understanding of official cyber protection protocols. It the job of hospital administration to provide resources to staff who are preparing to handle suspicious messages. The other thing that needs the administration's attention is to make sure that all the medical terminals should not be accessible when not in use.

It's much easier to prevent an attack than to repair the damage already done. Early detection and improvement are the best security measures. You can't guarantee what you don't see, so this effort should start by setting up visibility throughout your organization to achieve the knowledge of the exact stock of your entire devices.

Many experts are currently proposing to do a loophole test or risk test. That allows you to analyze your medical devices and understand where your risk profile depends on security vulnerabilities, similarities, and compliance planning for all your organization's devices.

Conclusion

To sum up, emergency hospitals should always use surveillance responses to ensure that any available features are visible and detailed. However, this helps medical organizations keep track of every medical device used in hospitals to prevent or block hackers from roaming within the organization. It creates a sense of security for all those patients and staff in the hospital. All these practices develop the trust for the hospital among people. These days for business, it's all about trust and security.