There have been many attempted attacks by cybercriminals on US healthcare centers, hospitals, and clinics all over the country. The fear is that a ransomware attack – something that has hit individual hospitals over the past two to three years – could take down many more, leaving patients with no medical history and hospitals with no hope of helping them.
The reason behind these past attacks and the potentially large one that might come is money. The ransomware developers, otherwise known as cybercriminals, use their computing knowledge to find any small area of vulnerability within the hospital’s current IT network and send viruses and other programs through. This essentially holds the entire network to ransom (hence the name) until one of two things happen; either the hospital agrees to the cybercriminal’s demands and pays a large sum of money, or they don’t, in which case the data is deleted, or the sensitive information is leaked to the dark web, enabling other cybercriminals to use it for identity theft, fraud, or even blackmail reasons. It is not thought to be a political move.
As can be seen, this ransomware, known as Ryuk, could be disastrous for the US medical industry as a whole, and this is why the FBI is involved.
The FBI is working hard to determine the root of this issue and to prevent it from happening, but as one cybercriminal is stopped, more step forward, and the problem never really goes away. The best thing for clinics and hospitals to do is increase their online security; here are some ways it can be done.
Having a managed service provider as an outsourcing partner is an excellent way to protect your essential IT assets. What is a managed service provider? It’s a third party who will take charge of your computer networks, ensuring that they are entirely up to date, secure, and, should any risk of a break be imminent, they will be able to fix the problem because anything negative happens.
Outsourcing this work is often better than trying to handle it in-house since you can have 24-hour assistance and experts who can work proactively and reactively if need be.
A hospital, clinic, or other healthcare center will have a lot of staff working for it. Each member of staff must be trained in online safety so that they don’t accidentally cause a virus to infect the system. Understanding how to send and receive emails safely, what information should be encrypted, how to use cloud computing for added security, and what spam sites look like could all be included in the training.
This training should be carried out regularly to ensure that everyone is always up to date with their knowledge and to let everyone know if there have been any changes in data or the wisdom regarding online safety.
Back Up Your Data
Although backing up your data won’t necessarily prevent a ransomware attack, it will ensure that you have uncorrupted versions of all the files that the virus has attacked. You may need to install a new server or update security measures before using this data, but at least it will be there.
Of course, if the cybercriminal has the data and wants to sell it on the dark web backing everything up won’t be of use, but it will mean that patients’ treatment won’t be held up, and that might save lives.