It’s important for all business owners to pay attention to cyber-security, and this is particularly true for businesses in the healthcare sector. Hackers often seek out patients’ financial information in the databases of healthcare companies.
Furthermore, cyber-attacks against healthcare companies are becoming more common. It’s estimated that there has been a 63% increase in major cyber attacks against healthcare companies. It’s expected that cyber attacks against healthcare companies will continue to become common in the coming year. Here are three common ways that hackers can gain access to healthcare companies’ information:
Malware is commonly used by hackers to gain access to healthcare companies’ sensitive information. There are different ways that your business’s computers can become infected with malware. Company computers can become infected with malware from simply clicking on the wrong link. Hackers also can infect a computer with malware when users download malicious software that masquerades as having a legitimate purpose. Therefore, it’s important that employees don’t download anything on to your business’ computers from sources that can’t be trusted.
There are different ways that malicious software programs can compromise your business’s electronics. Some malware is designed to log all keystrokes performed on the computer and send it back to the hackers. This type of malware is called spyware and can allow hackers to have access to a vast amount of sensitive information, such as passwords. Other forms of malware can allow hackers to remotely gain access to the entire computer system, which also gives them access to vast amounts of sensitive information.
Some types of malware encrypt files on a computer system and demand money from you to regain access to them. As many as 50% of businesses have been a target of this type of cyber-attack. This type of malware is referred to as ransomware due to the fact that the files are effectively “held hostage”. In many cases, ransomware can demand a large sum of money. Ransomware is also known for displaying extremely alarming messages on the computer screen.
Antivirus software can protect healthcare companies against malware. Anti-virus programs can protect you against most common forms of malware. However, it’s also important for healthcare companies to educate their employees on how to avoid malware. There are many forms of malware that aren’t detected by anti-virus programs, and they can only be avoided by being knowledgeable about cyber-security.
Phishing can enable hackers to steal passwords, but it works in a very different way from malware. Phishing is done when employees are tricked into following a link to a fake version of the company’s website. When employees punch their information into the fake login page, the hackers get access to their passwords. This information is then used for the hackers to gain access to the healthcare company’s databases, and they can steal vast amounts of data. In fact, they would have access to the same information that employees have access to. It’s important that your employees are aware of how to recognize phishing attacks.
A Compromised Cloud
If a cloud network is compromised, hackers can potentially gain access to a large amount of information. If encryption for the cloud isn’t strong enough, hackers can intercept the information stored on it. Botnets often have vast amounts of computing power, and they can crack relatively strong forms of encryption. However, there are other ways that a cloud can be compromised. If login information for the cloud is ever shared with an unscrupulous third party, the data can be compromised. Due to the possibility of a cloud being compromised, it’s best for healthcare companies not to store certain types of information using cloud technology. However, if there are necessary functions that use the cloud, like virtual bookkeeper programs, they can remain safe as long as you take extra precautions in what information is shared.
Cyber-attacks against healthcare companies are common, but they often can be avoided. Luckily, there are many resources to educate yourself and your employees about cyber-threats to your healthcare company.