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Top Five Cybersecurity Risks Facing the Healthcare Industry

As healthcare technology grows, so does its vulnerability to cyberthreats. Read on for five cybersecurity risks that threaten the healthcare industry.
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As a healthcare system, you pride yourself on providing a top-quality patient care experience—and that experience doesn’t stop with securing protected health information (PHI). Healthcare technology continues to advance and its vulnerability to cybersecurity risk inherently grows. Our professionals compiled their top five cybersecurity risks that currently threaten the healthcare industry. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so as you review, consider how these risks may be affecting your current controls.

1. Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are among the most prevalent cyberthreats to healthcare. In fact, ransomware increased by 13% in 2022—boosting all breaches, including ransomware, to 25%.1 These attacks involve encrypting a victim’s data and demanding a ransom payment to restore access to the data. Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to these attacks, as they often store sensitive patient data that can be used to extort a ransom payment. For more information on ransomware attacks in the healthcare industry, read our FORsights™ article, “Health Providers Warned of New Ransomware.”

2. Phishing & Social Engineering

In 2022, 82% of breaches involved the human element.1 Phishing and social engineering attacks are designed to trick employees into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware. Healthcare employees are particularly susceptible to these attacks, as they often receive a high volume of emails and are busy with patient care.

3. Medical Device Vulnerabilities

Medical devices are increasingly connected to networks and the internet, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. These vulnerabilities can allow attackers to gain access to sensitive patient data or even control the device remotely, potentially putting patient health at risk.

4. Insider Threats

Insider threats are among the most difficult to detect and prevent. In fact, in 2022, 39% of breaches came from internal actors.1 These threats can come from employees, contractors, or other insiders who can access sensitive data and systems. Insider threats can be intentional, such as stealing patient data, or unintentional, such as accidentally downloading malware. The Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that employees are more likely to make an error than to maliciously misuse their access, but this makes a good case to enforce employee training on cybersecurity.

5. Third-Party Risk

Healthcare organizations often rely on third-party vendors for various services, such as data storage and processing. However, these vendors may not have the same level of cybersecurity as the healthcare organization, creating a potential weak point in the organization’s defenses. For more information on third-party risk in cybersecurity, read our FORsights article, “A TPRM Perspective – Cybersecurity Risk.”

It’s essential for healthcare organizations to implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect against these and other cyber risks. This includes training employees on detecting and responding to cyberthreats, regularly updating software and systems, conducting regular vulnerability assessments, and implementing access controls and monitoring systems. By taking proactive steps to address these risks, healthcare organizations can help protect PHI and strengthen the integrity of their systems to provide a quality patient care experience.

At FORVIS, our cybersecurity team offers services to help combat these risks, including ransomware assessments, social engineering testing, threat and vulnerability testing, incident response planning, third-party risk management, and IT and security risk assessments.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to a professional at FORVIS or submit the Contact Us form below.

  • 1 a b c Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report,

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