In a little more than a year, COVID-19 has infected 117 million people, and more than 2.5 million have died. The virus is taking a toll on the healthcare system. Hospital personnel have been consumed by their efforts to treat critically ill patients. New procedures were implemented for contact tracing and data sharing, which made healthcare technology more vulnerable to cyberattack spikes.
A recent report by Check Point Software Technologies revealed that there was a sharp increase in the number of attacks over the last two months of the year. Though the industry experienced more security threats than any other industry during 2020 as a whole, the rise in November and December is alarming. Globally, cyberattack spikes targeting healthcare facilities increased by 45%, more than twice the increase seen in all other industries across the globe during that same time period.
What Methods Are Used To Attack Healthcare Technology?
The greatest cyber threat to the healthcare system is from attacks using ransomware. Though other methods are used, including remote code execution and botnets, ransomware saw the greatest increase and was the most prevalent in 2020. This type of malicious attack is particularly disruptive, inhibiting patient care and endangering lives.
Ryuk ransomware is used most often in healthcare cyber attacks. This form of malware is a tailored infection that requires the victims to interact directly with the criminal to resolve the issue. The attackers demand high ransoms for the return of stolen data and information.
Why Are Cyber Attacks on the Rise?
The healthcare system has been made especially vulnerable over this past year. The pandemic is stretching staff and resources thin. Cybercriminals discovered that healthcare technology is an easy target for ransomware, and they can make a lot of money targeting the industry. The attackers steal privileged data and information and then hold it for ransom. In many cases, facilities have no choice but to pay large sums of money so that they can return to providing critical care to COVID-19 patients.
What Can the Healthcare Industry Do?
Your clients already have a lot on their plates, they don’t need any additional stressors. Though taking steps to reduce the risk of healthcare cyberattack spikes does require additional resources, it’s far better to invest now rather than deal with the consequences of an attack. Inform your customers of the following measures recommended in the report to boost their cybersecurity:
- Increase IT and security over the weekends and on holidays, which is when most attacks take place.
- Keep an eye out for trojan infections, as these are precursors to the Ryuk ransomware. Remove the trojan infections immediately using threat hunting solutions.
- Install anti-ransomware with remediate features to allow the facility to return to normal operations within minutes of an attack.
- Train employees to recognize targeted phishing emails and report them to IT. This step is critical and can do more to prevent cyber attacks than any other measure.
- Use an intrusion prevention system that is capable of performing virtual patches.
About Connected Risk Solutions
At Connected Risk Solutions, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since. 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.