Tag: cybersecurity

Hospitals Can Protect Against Data Breach Using Deception Technologies

Guest post by Moshe Ben-Simon, co-founder and vice president of services and research, TrapX Security.

Moshe Ben-Simon
Moshe Ben-Simon

Healthcare is a major market in the United States with annual expenditures that consume almost 17.4 percent of the gross domestic product. Healthcare in the U.S. includes 893,851 physicians, 2,724,570 registered nurses, including physician’s assistants and administrative staff that support them. Additionally, there are approximately 5,686 hospitals that support these professionals directly. The great majority of physician practices now have electronic medical records (EMR/EHR) systems that are all interconnected with the rest of the ecosystem.

The typical hospital is replete with Internet connected systems and medical devices. These devices are also connected to EMR systems that are being deployed at a fast pace across practices and hospitals because of government incentives, such as meaningful use. This creates a highly connected community that brings the most vulnerable devices together with some of the highest value data.

Medical records = big money for organized crime

Healthcare data presents a compelling opportunity for organized crime. Cybersecurity firm Dell Secure Works notes that cyber criminals were getting paid $20 to $40 for health insurance credentials, compared with $1 to $2 for U.S. credit card numbers prior to the Target Breach. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a private industry notification (PIN) report in April 2014 that noted cyber-attacks will increase against healthcare systems and medical devices because of lax cybersecurity standards and a higher financial payout for medical records in the black market.

As of Mar. 30, 2015, the Identify Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has healthcare breach incidents at 32.7 percent of all listed incidents nationwide. Per ITRC, for the first quarter of 2015, more than 99,335,375 medical records have been exposed and compromised in the United States alone.

As in other industries, the attackers in healthcare may be standalone operators or part of larger organized crime syndicates. The great majority are clearly after valuable healthcare data and economic gain. Health insurance credentials can have a value 20 times that of a credit card on the hacker black market. These attackers know that healthcare networks are more vulnerable and provide greater potential rewards. They have already determined that these vulnerabilities are so extreme as to make healthcare the easiest choice for their attack.

Despite the latest/greatest perimeter network security technology, hackers continue to get in

The risk for ongoing data exfiltration, theft and subsequent HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violations has never been higher. Basic defense-in-depth cyber security products seem to be failing at an increasing rate. The concept of defending a perimeter around hospital networks no longer works against a variety of cyber-attack vectors. Recent studies suggest that most hospitals are unaware of active attackers likely hiding within their medical devices inside their networks already.

These medical devices have become the key pivot points for attackers within healthcare networks. They are visible points of vulnerability in the healthcare enterprise and the hardest area to remediate even when attacker compromise is identified. These persistent cyber-attacks threaten overall hospital operations and the security of patient data.

Most hospital information technology teams are managing a very heavy workload. They must deal with a multitude of vendors and supporting a diverse set of networks across the hospital. Further, they must work to be compliant with HIPAA security rules and other compliance requirements. Cyber security products issue a multitude of alerts and can overwhelm these hospital teams while real cyber security event alerts are perhaps hidden or missed.

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Hackers Have Health Data in their Crosshairs

Sergio Galindo
Sergio Galindo

Guest post by Sergio Galindo, general manager, GFI Software.

With stolen medical data selling on the black market at a rate anywhere between 10 to 50 times that of stolen credit card numbers, hackers have a new favorite target – the healthcare industry.

The industry is a sitting duck, and hackers have declared open season. Indeed, we have seen several extremely high-profile penetrations of healthcare companies in the past months, and more are likely in the coming months. Anyone with medical insurance should pay attention to the increasing number of data security breaches.

Consider the three most high-profile security incidents that have recently struck the healthcare industry. Community Health Systems claims that no medical information was exposed when the insurer was hacked, but the breach affected some 4.5 million records within their systems. In February of this year, Anthem reported that a breach resulted in 80 million records stolen, and recently data attackers broke into Premera Blue Cross and obtained medical and financial data of 11 million of their customers, stealing both electronic health records (EHR) and protected health information (PHI).

While stolen credit card data may fetch between $1 and $2 per record, EHRs are far more lucrative for hackers, often going for $20 to $50 per entry. This value stems from several reasons:

It’s worth noting that the value of stolen data increases relative to its longevity as a source of revenue. Credit card numbers are often replaced in 30 to 90 days (a new number issued); business information remains valid for up to three years (price lists, customer database), for example, while medical information can remain valid for more than 10 years. Social Security numbers have the longest ROI for cybercriminals because they last until the individual passes away (and even then they are still used).

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