Hacking Healthcare

Many businesses (including healthcare organizations) go through great lengths to secure consumer (patient) data.  And while that effort is noble and important, we should not go around with rose colored glasses believing that the efforts are failsafe.  Indeed, much has been written about data breaches over the past couple of years as this profitable trend of theft increases.  The healthcare industry is no stranger to this; in fact it has been reported that a patient’s healthcare data is worth at least twice as much on the black market as regular consumer data.

The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) recently released a report showing that healthcare is an ideal target for hackers.  The report notes that healthcare organizations have actually been quite lucky (thus far) that more serious attacks haven’t disrupted patient care or placed patients at risk for harm.  As with other industries, connected devices are becoming more and more prevalent (e.g. pacemakers, treatment delivery software, MRIs, etc.).  And this trend continues to consumer items such as blood pressure meters, connected treadmills, digital fitness trackers, and networked weight scales.  The Director of Health and Mobile Product Research at Parks Associates, Henry Wang, commented on the growing demand from Baby Boomers:

 “These consumers face a variety of health and mobility challenges, so there is tremendous potential for accelerated adoption, improved outcomes, and ultimately significant cost savings for both companies and consumers. Interoperability and standards compliance will be the primary challenges as companies look to expand the connected health market and engage this demographic.”

The ICIT report recommends healthcare organizations:

  • consider the long-term consequences of existing cybersecurity tactics
  • improve organizational security controls
  • develop actionable incident response plans to prepare for distributed denial of service attacks.

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Contact ABISA for healthcare consultancy support or speaking engagements.

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