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Healthcare ransomware attacks threaten patient safety
This article is part of the Pulse issue of March 2018, Vol. 6, No. 2
A new cybersecurity scourge is plaguing health IT. It's the fear, and reality, of healthcare ransomware attacks crippling hospital data systems and harming patient safety. Of course, the traditional cybersecurity specter is still hovering: hacker-triggered health data breaches that have terrorized healthcare organizations since electronic health records proliferated in the industry in the 2000s. But the health IT counter-hacker corps has made big strides in combatting that adversary. And, besides, breaches don't usually hurt anyone directly. Ransomware disturbs patient care Not so with healthcare ransomware attacks. Patients' physiological health is at stake here -- even if patients are only collateral damage in cybercriminals' blackmail campaigns and there's no evidence of any concerted attack on a specific person. Apparently, no one has counted just how many patients had surgeries canceled or postponed after the WannaCry ransomware strikes took down at least 16 hospitals in the British public healthcare system in May 2017. One...
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Features in this issue
More hacker threats, including via connected medical devices, are coming to healthcare organizations, but health IT professionals can look to AI and blockchain for possible help.
Patient data breaches dropped in 2017, mainly due to fewer large-scale breaches, but ransomware strikes intensified and insiders kept hacking.
Medical facilities sometimes believe security is equivalent to compliance with HIPAA -- but not so fast. Organizations must consider other aspects when guarding patient data.
Columns in this issue
Health IT and hospital security professionals must try to stay ahead of cyberattacks against electronic patient records. But now hackers are prepping the next generation.
Worry about health IT cybersecurity has shifted from hacker-triggered health data breaches to ransomware and malware exploits that shut down hospitals and threaten patient safety.
Hospital CIOs who want to ensure that their environments are protected should be sure to implement multifactor authentication and AI-based monitoring to prevent data breaches.