All companies have valuable data assets that they need to protect from cyberattacks. Healthcare providers are particularly prone to cyberattacks due to the type and importance of the information they process. We’re going to look at why healthcare organizations are attacked, the dangers inherent in these attacks, and how to enhance cybersecurity with an XDR solution.
Why Healthcare Organizations Are Targeted by Threat Actors
Healthcare organizations are prime targets for cyberattacks. The following are some of the reasons threat actors focus on companies in the healthcare sector.
- Digital transformation has resulted in patient data and health records being stored electronically rather than in traditional paper form. This has resulted in the storage of sensitive digital information that can be targeted by malicious entities.
- Many healthcare organizations are affected by the lack of experienced technical staff with cybersecurity experience. This makes it much more difficult to effectively protect sensitive data assets.
- Even when technical resources are available, they may have an incomplete understanding of how to secure cloud resources. The result is often misconfiguration of security parameters that provides vulnerabilities which can be exploited by hackers.
- Many healthcare organizations process multiple types of sensitive data including patient health records and cardholder data. The combination of these sensitive data elements is all that threat actors need to perpetrate identity theft.
- The use of mobile devices by patients to access healthcare information portals expands the attack surface the organization must defend. Compromised personal mobile devices may be the source of malware introduced to the larger IT environment.
- The valuable and sensitive nature of the data stored and processed by healthcare organizations makes it critically important that they quickly recover from an attack and more likely that a victim will pay a ransom. A delay in restoring systems affected by a cyberattack negatively impacts the organization and the patients it serves.
The Dangers of Cyberattacks in Healthcare
Cyberattacks that impact any company’s valuable data resources can be devastating to the victimized organization. Attacks that impact a healthcare organization’s ability to access its data can be even more dangerous with the effects potentially affecting the health of its patients.
The following are some of the most impactful results of cyberattacks directed at the healthcare sector.
- The exfiltration of protected health information (PHI) provides threat actors with the raw materials necessary to engage in identity theft or fraud.
- Loss of access to vitally important health information impacts both the organization and its patients. Individuals may be unable to access test results or schedule important follow-up appointments with their health providers.
- Delayed healthcare services due to outages may result in degraded patient care and the potential loss of life. The loss of critical systems involved in scheduling and performing surgeries or providing chemotherapy can potentially cause the deaths of the affected patients.
- There can be excessive costs to the organization to regain control of its IT environment to facilitate patient care. They may be faced with the choice of paying exorbitant ransomware costs or for an unexpected disaster recovery to restore the affected systems.
- The expenses associated with notification and corrective measures taken in the wake of a data breach potentially threaten the organization’s viability. Patients may be reluctant to continue to do business with a healthcare provider that has been successfully attacked with the associated loss of personal information.
Cyberattacks Directed at Healthcare Organizations
The risks to healthcare organizations are real and show no signs of abating anytime soon. A case in point can be seen in the increased prevalence of cyberattacks in the Australian healthcare sector. The attacks include ransomware, malware, and Russian advanced persistent threats (APTs) that threaten the sensitive data held by healthcare providers.
Following are some examples of recent cyberattacks on healthcare organizations.
- Medibank - Medibank is one of Australia’s largest private health insurers. It was attacked in late 2022 by the Russian cybercriminal gang REvil. The attack stole the personal information of 9.7 million past and present customers. Initial ransomware demands were for 15 million Australian dollars.
- Tennessee Medical Clinic - The Murfreesboro Medical Clinic & SurgiCenter was attacked on April 22, 2023, which forced an immediate closure as the organization struggled to ascertain the degree of damage. Surgeries and other medical procedures were forced to be canceled due to the attack.
- Attacks on clinical laboratories - Attacks on the IT systems of medical laboratories in Florida and Maryland have forced administrators to resort to using paper documentation. Both facilities were forced to shut down systems for multiple days as they recovered from the attack.
- Potential death related to an attack on a German hospital - A ransomware attack on Düsseldorf University Hospital in Germany in 2020 may have been responsible for the death of a woman who had to be redirected to another facility for emergency care.
How XDR Helps Protect Healthcare Data
XDR directly addresses some of the staffing issues faced by many healthcare organizations. It collects telemetry from across the complete IT environment and prioritizes threats. XDR makes it possible for individuals without specialized security skills to leverage the platform’s threat hunting capabilities. An XDR solution enables small staff to concentrate on the most substantial threats without being hindered by having to investigate multiple false positives.
One of the most beneficial advantages of implementing an XDR solution is its democratization of threat detection. In the past, only large organizations with substantial IT budgets could afford the type of threat detection available from an XDR SaaS solution. The reduced costs of an XDR platform bring advanced threat detection capabilities to healthcare organizations of any size.
The following benefits of implementing Samurai’s XDR platform make it an excellent addition to any healthcare organization’s cybersecurity defenses.
- XDR consolidates and prioritizes threat detection from the complete environment to reduce the strain on security staff. It automates incident triage and greatly reduces the incidence of false positives.
- XDR identifies the subtle lateral movement through an infrastructure that may indicate the presence of an advanced persistent threat.
- The solution detects previously unknown threats that are not identified by traditional cybersecurity measures with the help of Samurai’s Global Threat Intelligence platform.
- The SaaS delivery model employed by Samurai XDR eliminates the need for organizations to construct an in-house security stack. Companies can simply access XDR through the cloud and gain immediate threat detection capabilities.
Healthcare organizations can help protect themselves and their patients through the addition of Samurai XDR to their current cybersecurity measures.
Contact Samurai to see how easy it is to add advanced threat detection functionality to your company’s cyber defenses.
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