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Health Data: How Secure Is It?

Health Data: How Secure Is It?

Most health institutions nowadays use computers for easy 24/7 access to important data of patients and health care providers. But as more data breaches take place, many are concerned about the security of their data especially when hackers can breach the system and use their data maliciously. And we are not just talking about medical institutions but of any industry that asks for and keeps a copy of their employee’s health records and other relevant details like social security number and personal information that are needed by health care providers and health insurance companies throughout the country.

Health-related data breaches cost a staggering $6 billion annually but an estimated 56% of healthcare organizations remain unprotected against data breach despite its apparent threat mostly because of insufficient funding. Even the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued warnings to the health care sector in general because their cyber security systems are the most vulnerable than any other industry. And worse, employees don’t often make it a habit of encrypting data making it doubly more susceptible to cyber attacks.

Data breaches, directors and officers liability, and web-connected devices will be hot areas in health privacy and data security litigation, Elliot Golding, a data privacy and cyber security partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA in a video interview.
Federal regulatory enforcement in the health-care sector will likely focus on risk analysis, employee training, encrypting data, and entering into business associate agreements, Golding said.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides privacy and security protection for health data and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR). According to Golding, OCR has been shifting from an “education bend” to an “enforcement bend.” There have been more than 50 privacy and security settlements, with nine settlements in 2017 alone, and most settlements involve more than $1 million, he said.
The proliferation of internet of things (IoT) devices has increased the attack surface for hacking and other cybersecurity threats, he said. “Security is only as good as the weakest link,” Golding said.

(Via: https://www.bna.com/video-expect-health-n73014453702/)

The healthcare industry should level up their game plan when it comes to data protection and cyber security because hackers are just waiting for a chance to get through a system’s defenses and steal precious data that should not be seen by others and may even be worth millions.

All over the world, digital tools are increasingly being used to improve and streamline healthcare services. This does not only lead to positive results, but also creates opportunities for new types of threats regarding information security and privacy.
Information security and protection of privacy are some of the most important factors in the development of high-quality tools in the healthcare sector. If no attention is paid to these aspects, there is substantial risk that individuals may come to harm in healthcare situations. Leonardo Iwaya, PhD student in computer science at Karlstad University, explores ways of securing information and protecting privacy when using mobile applications in healthcare (mHealth).
“Mobile apps are for example used in developing countries to increase the coverage and the access to public healthcare,” says Leonardo Iwaya. “But many projects fail because issues related to data security and privacy cannot be successfully integrated in the systems.”

(Via: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170615084754.htm)

The recent Wannacry attack also affected NHS Trust, UK’s health care system and temporarily put on hold patient’s medications and treatments because the computers where the patients’ files are stored can no longer be accessed. Everyone experienced for themselves the effect of a massive cyber attack, which is why data security should never be an afterthought no matter what industry you are in.

There are three reasons health care is the source of so much stolen data right now. First, health care data can be monetized. For instance, cybercriminals can use medical data to sell fake identities, construct synthetic identities, and enable someone to conduct medical identity theft. If that doesn’t work, they can use the stolen information for traditional identity theft, since medical information tends to include enough information to allow a criminal to open a credit card, bank account, or loan in the victim’s name. If neither of those works, cybercriminals can use ransomware to extort health care organizations to pay them money to regain access to compromised systems and data.

(Via: https://hbr.org/2017/06/11-things-the-health-care-sector-must-do-to-improve-cybersecurity)

The world is rapidly changing but the problem with most healthcare systems the world over is that they don’t easily embrace change. They are often the last to upgrade their systems making them an easy prey to hackers, unlike other industries that give prime importance to data security and keep up with the changes around them. Cyber criminals know how extensive the data stored in many healthcare systems, so they do the math and target it in one of their many attacks. Really easy money, if you ask me.

Most cyber attacks target Windows PCs. It is rare to hear a Mac computer become the target of such attacks because hackers have a hard time breaking Apple’s defenses. Hence, Mac users have been confident all these years that their device will remain invincible amidst these constant cyber threats. But I’ve got bad news for you because the Mac line looks more tempting than ever to these cyber criminals and they’ve been cooking up ways on how to get past its defenses for real. But for the usual data recovery issues, check out https://www.harddrivefailurerecovery.net/do-your-data-recovery-for-mac-a-nice-tool/. Or, https://www.harddrivefailurerecovery.net/mac-data-recovery/ if you badly need professional help to get your data back. You can also call us for help because we provide expert assistance at a price you can afford.