Hackers in Healthcare: Strong in 2017

HackersEvery year brings a fresh new set of security threats and tactics by hackers, and 2017 promises to be no different. Experts in the industry predict that healthcare organizations will continue to be a preferred target for breaches, identity theft, and cyberspying attempts.


As cybervillains and hackers develop new strategies and shift between infiltration methods, organizations must also evolve in their security planning. Analytical data can be used to show anomalies and trends that will predict an impending incident. Constantly adding new hack profiles and defenses as well as adopting the most current protection methods reduces the likelihood of a hack’s success.

Desirable Assets

The reason that the healthcare industry is so attractive to cybercriminals is the immense amount of private data that is housed by providers and insurance companies. Consider the information that must be filled out for a simple doctor visit due to a cold. From employment information to social security and credit card numbers, addresses, and insurance policy numbers, data can be easily used for identity theft or medical fraud and spell financial disaster to victims. This data is incredibly valuable on the black market and has proven itself to be easily attainable.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Healthcare organizations large or small may be the target of hackers. Smaller, less tech-savvy providers may fall prey more easily to phishing and malware. Larger businesses could be slow to update their protection software and miss an infiltration attempt. Vendors with lackadaisical practices could cause gaps where systems connect.

Different Aim

While insurers were a common target over the past couple of years, it’s likely that hospital network breaches will increasingly be the objective for thieves in 2017. Given the myriad of old systems and rapid pace of a busy hospital, chances are good that a criminal can stumble upon one vulnerable entry point.

Other Predictions to Note

Some successful hack methods will persist, such as the use of ransomware where company assets are held hostage until a fee is paid to release the records. Effective training programs and internet filters may help reduce exposure to these programs, but the level of expertise displayed by hackers makes it extremely difficult to avoid all attempts.

Healthcare organizations will begin to feel the aftereffects of previous breaches in the form of old passwords and login credentials being used to attempt access across the industry. Government regulations will evolve to penalize hospitals for noncompliant security practices.

The coming year will be a test of defenses across the healthcare industry. Technical resources must be observant, tactical, and prepared for whatever inventive methods hackers will employ. Multi-factor authentication, thorough vendor vetting, and constant evolution of security standards are imperative in this new world of dark web crime. For more information on protecting your company network, contact ROI Networks today.

Preserving the Organization’s Reputation Through Cybersecurity

CybersecurityHackers and cyber villains are lurking in just about every corner of commerce today, from skimmers at gas stations to massive enterprise and governmental system infiltrations. These compromises are incredibly costly, not only in dollars but also in damage to a business’s reputation. Protecting against such crimes has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Companies of all sizes must invest in cyber security programs to protect themselves and their customers.

The Impact of Reputational Loss

Nearly everyone who reads online news has heard about the financial ramifications of a breach. Not only must a company correct the vulnerability, but they also must help affected parties repair and recover their losses. A successful hacker may collect records for months before being detected, putting millions of consumers and patients at risk of identity theft and financial losses. Breach amelioration costs can quickly reach millions or billions of dollars.

Recovery is not where the catastrophe ends. Even with effective breach handling, the future of an affected company is at risk. Revenues will shrink nearly immediately as consumers look for other vendors or providers of the service and will likely remain severely diminished for a long time period. In many cases, the combination of recovery expense and sharply declining revenue could easily be a company’s end.

In the event that a breached business does manage to recover, the future may be complicated. Regulatory agencies may step in and microscopically review practices and policies, requiring significant time and effort from company stakeholders to comply. All factors considered, reputational damage can be as costly as financial losses.

Building a Security-Minded Team

As hackers create new ways to breach systems and acquire sensitive data, the enterprise’s security processes and procedures must also shift and change. Creating a strong mindset of security in an organization allows streamlined evolution to occur as needed. Every level of the business, from the Board of Directors down to the most entry-level employees, must be educated on cybersecurity and simple ways to prevent exposure. Criminals will go to great lengths to obtain informational assets, and some techniques are as basic as chatting up the administrative assistant.

Multi-Pronged Cybersecurity Efforts

A number of factors will strengthen the company’s security program:

  • Intrusion prevention and detection systems should be active and routinely updated.
  • Train each team member on how to avoid social engineering and phishing attempts.
  • Keep systems separate; many breaches have occurred at the supply chain connection to core systems. Failing to protect that gap has led major enterprises into massive incidents.
  • Restrict privileged access and provide the minimal permissions level required by an individual’s job description.
  • Stay on top of updates to anti-virus/malware signatures.
  • Create and practice an Incident Response Plan, complete with crisis mode.
  • Consider appointing a key officer for security and compliance if one does not already exist.
  • Obtain appropriate and adequate cyber insurance to protect the company should an incident occur. Having a well-constructed security program often reduces the cost of such protection.

Cybersecurity is an important topic today, and companies that fail to execute an effective program typically suffer a tragic fate as their reputation crumbles. For more information on constructing a strong security program, contact ROI Networkstoday.