Cyber-attacks can be catastrophic in any industry, but when malware attacks effect hospital systems it’s particularly devastating. Have you ever considered the impact of Ransomware in Health Care?
Ransomware works by basically hijacking and disabling computer systems until a ransom is paid. Early this year the American medical industry was affected as the number of ransomware attacks rose to over 4,000 a day in the early months of 2016, equating to 88% of ransomware attacks nationwide.
The Devastating Impact of Ransomware in Health Care
US news and world report described hospitals as “rubber dinghies” that are “swimming in a sea of sharks” when commenting on the vulnerability of hospital systems. Research into the problem has returned some shocking and, in some cases, worrying results.
- 5,700 computers a day are locked due to ransomware in the U.S.
- 50% of U.S hospitals reported ransomware attacks at some point of the last year.
- 20% of U.S hospitals received 7 or more cyber attacks in the last year.
- 35% of technical hospital employees think they don’t have the staff to protect against the attacks.
For the medical industry money isn’t the only thing at risk. In early February 2016 an attack put the Hollywood hospital off-line for more than a week. Blocking staff’s access to email and patient files, causing some patients to be moved to other hospitals. In some cases, computers that powered CT scans and held data for labs and pharmacies were out of action forcing staff to resort to using fax machines and telephones to complete their daily tasks.
A few months later a similar attack put a hospital in Indiana’s computer system out of action with similar consequences. It’s now of highest importance to the medical industry that they take steps to protect against ransomware attacks.
In most cases, simple measures can help reduce the impact and likelihood of an attack and information and training is vital to preventing them.
Ransomware Education – Know how Ransomware gets in:
- Email is the most common entry point. A well disguised email can hide harmful links or downloads.
- Flashdrives used by employees are an overlooked storage for malicious content and caution should be taken when using a new or unknown flashdrive.
- “Malvertising” can direct unsuspecting staff towards harmful websites through online adverts, providing a backdoor into the hospital’s system.
- Botnet’s are another option for hacker’s. Botnet’s are compromised machines that allow access to the computer network.
How a Healthcare Organisation can defend against a ransomware attack:
- Backup – Backing up your system on a regular basis can help restore your system after an attack.
- Training – Training of staff on the risks and prevention of cyberattacks can reduce common cyber incidents
- Email – By setting parameters you can block out malware before it enters your system.
- Adblockers – reduce malvertising incidents by 100% in most cases.
- Patches – Up-to-date patches reduce and secure weak entry points.
- Backup communication – in case of an attack, a backup communication system needs to be in place.
The high numbers of users, multiple entry points and outdated systems have made the medical industries networks particularly vulnerable and the risks to patient health accentuate the severity of the attacks.
It’s now time to adjust the security within the medical industry’s computer network and prevent any future attacks, ransomware or alike.
In need of IT assistance?
Speak to the experienced team at Stanfield IT on 1300 910 333