Healthcare security is a big priority, not just for the people working in the industry but also for the government as a whole. Patients’ privacy is of utmost importance; that’s why security threats and issues should be addressed to safeguard sensitive data and information. Whether you’re working as a healthcare provider, running a facility, or working in one, it’s best to educate yourself on the top threats to healthcare security. Doing so will help you know what to do and how to mitigate such risks.
That being said, here are some of the top healthcare security threats you need to be aware of and what to do about them.
- Mobile Device Risks
Because of the demand for instant communication, more and more devices are being utilized by doctors and practitioners in the healthcare sector. The medical staff, administrators, and other professionals use mobile devices to send messages and access information. Although it’s undoubtedly helpful in various ways, there’s also the inevitable security risk that comes with these gadgets and their operating systems.
It’s crucial that you understand how to safeguard all devices you use at work. Aside from installing anti-spyware or antivirus apps, you can also consider getting a security risk assessment HIPAA that covers the entire technological infrastructure you use, not just mobile devices. The risk analysis could significantly help in protecting the sensitive information of both the patients and the organization.
- Internal Breach
It may not always be the case, but it’s not impossible that employees may attempt to steal information, particularly patient files. Sensitive documents are always prone to internal breaches, which cybercriminals may use in their attempts to steal identities. There’s also the possibility that they might use those documents to blackmail or intimidate people. Another common scenario is that people may steal financial information to use the credit numbers of patients for fraudulent purchases. Other sensitive details that can be stolen are social security numbers and patient demographics.
While there’s no way to tell when this can happen or who among the employees might commit an internal breach, preventive measures can go a long way in reducing such risks. To start, make sure everyone in the organization is aware of the best security practices and consequences if they fail to adhere to company guidelines and policies. Limit access to users you know you can trust and invest in behavior analytics software and programs that track geolocation, log-in patterns, and employee search histories.
- Credential Stuffing
Credential stuffing is a form of cyberattack that involves the malicious use of compromised credentials such as user passwords to ‘stuff’ accounts and log-in details. The stuffing is done to breach another system or organization, since people from the same industry tend to use the same passwords when making their credentials. This cyberattack is becoming more prevalent because fraudsters expose stolen or compromised information on the dark web. Imagine if healthcare-related credentials were used to make fraudulent transactions, from phishing attacks to accounts takeover.
The first step in securing your organization against credential stuffing is to know the signs to watch out for. Educate the staff and healthcare practitioners in your facility to know if the signs are becoming persistent. If they’ve been locked out of their accounts because of too many failed attempts, it could mean someone else is already trying to access their credentials. Make sure their passwords are constantly updated, hard to crack, and unique. Adding an extra layer of protection, such as two-factor authentication, can also help safeguard your credentials.
- Computers With Unrestricted Access
Open or unrestricted computers are a common sight in organizations. In the healthcare sector, this is also another possibility that exposes your facility to potential security threats. People can easily use such computers or devices outside of your organization, which could cause unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Even a single successful attempt can provide a gateway for cybercriminals and attackers to explore more sensitive areas of your network. To prevent this from happening, make sure your computers are located in areas restricted to authorized personnel only. If there’s a need to place computers in common areas, limit the access and don’t connect the server to the main network of your building.
Healthcare security threats are growing, and unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do to stop its spread. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t add extra layers of protection to safeguard your files, data, and credentials. Educating your employees is one step you can take to emphasize the urgency of healthcare security in the organization. Such an investment can also help you grow your medical practice and improve your facility’s dependability.
Establish strict protocols to ensure all access will be limited, authorized, and as safe as possible. Regularly update your software, networks, and applications so you can stay on top of your fight against various healthcare security threats.