Telehealth has been a great innovation in the medical field, bringing patients face to face with their providers without leaving their homes. With just a clear Wi-Fi signal, people can connect to their doctor and receive the help they need. And with the COVID-19 pandemic causing people to stay indoors more than ever, telehealth is even more crucial and necessary in today’s new normal.
But while telehealth is helpful and connects people to the right help, it’s opened the door to a rise in the potential for cyber risks to occur. A recent report from SecurityScorecard and DarkOwl suggests that the telehealth industry has improved its security posture in recent years. Still, it also points out that an increased reliance on technology has presented a new line up of patient data risks.
The rapid rate at which telehealth applications were forced into use during the pandemic’s early days made them prime targets for cybercrimes. From phishing attempts to full-scale data mining, cyber attacks in 2021 have been unprecedented. The report from SecurityScorecard and DarkOwl examined more than 30,000 healthcare organizations from the fall of 2019 through April of 2020, observing their telehealth operations.
By reviewing nearly 150 telehealth vendors, the report showed an increased danger to patient data across application security, endpoint security, patching cadence, and network security. Patients are connecting with telehealth providers using web-based applications that include both unstructured and structured data. With a sharp increase in the use of telehealth applications, cybercriminals began targeting them more directly.
When the coronavirus initially landed in the United States in January of 2020, the risks around telehealth rose sharply as DarkOwl researchers noticed a significant spike in the number of dark web and deep web results containing telehealth companies. What’s more, the report’s authors flagged endpoint security, including medical devices and COVID devices, as significant concerns.
These devices offer remote connections between patients and providers while reducing contact. However, they also create data security and open the door to privacy risks as malicious actors try to infiltrate the devices to obtain valuable health information.
Cybersecurity experts have pointed out the speed of taking healthcare remote as a cause for concern, calling the pandemic a veritable buffet of hackers’ criminal opportunities. Any time a change is made in the tech environment, there is a potential risk. When there is rapid change, that risk only intensifies.
While healthcare professionals and companies are protecting their patients’ health by using telehealth services, there also needs to focus on making data health a priority.
About Connected Risk Solutions
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