Why are Healthcare organizations prime target for cybersecurity attacks?


Why are Healthcare organizations prime target for cybersecurity attacks?

July 4, 2018

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While all businesses are targets for cybersecurity attacks, Healthcare providers such as doctors, dentists, and chiropractors, are prime targets for cybersecurity attacks.

Let’s look at a few reasons we have found over the years that makes your practice a “honeypot” for hackers and online thieves:

Healthcare providers store data that has incredible market value

While financial information may be present in most networks, the medical services industry stores personal AND financial information in a level of detail that if breached and stolen, can easily be used to steal patient’s identity. Think about this for a minute, every time you receive a new patient, you are collecting not only their names, address, age and other demographic data, but also insurance information, credit card information and in some cases social security numbers. Can you imagine what kind of money someone can get for that information in the dark web?

Healthcare providers are not computer savvy

While this is obviously an overgeneralization, the truth is that most doctors, and their staff are not computer savvy. For this reason, security tends to be weak, protection is outdated, passwords are easy to crack and there are many easy entry points into the network. Hackers know this and take advantage by using phishing and other deceiving tactics to gain access to internal resources.

Healthcare providers are forced to maintain digital records

It has been years since the government has mandated the introduction of Electronic Record Management technology into practices of all sizes, and while adoption was somewhat fast, the learning curve and the adaptation of users to new technology was harder. Change is not welcomed anywhere, but is specifically true for doctors, nurses and staff. This generates a slow update and maintenance routine that translates into outdated computers and systems, which gives more time to cyber criminals to take advantage of weaknesses in the computer systems. We have seen many cases where a hacker has taken advantage of a security hole for which developers had released patches months before.

Doctors are busy

Most doctors are very focused on taking care of patients and have very little time, if any, to take care of technology. Issues that develop in the network are handled by administrative staff who are also busy and wear many hats. Both doctors and administrators don’t have the technical knowledge to fully handle issues and sadly, outsource the issues to the “young” receptionist that is very good at googling things. Things are fixed the wrong way, fall through the cracks, or are simply ignored until it is too late.

There is a generalized mentality that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it

This is probably one of the most critical reasons why the healthcare industry is like candy for criminals. Since security risks will not show up on your screen as a warning, or make a computer stop working, you and your staff will never know there is a security risk in your network. Monitoring security is critical to ensure you are really protected. You cannot trust that your computer will tell you when you are at risk, and you will find out that you were at risk when it is too late (and the FBI is knocking at the door).

These are few of the reasons why your practice could be at risk of being breached into. In our experience, your firewall (assuming you have one) is constantly under attack and if your defenses are not up to par, you will sooner or later experience that cold going down your back that people feel when they realize the wrong people got to their data and have taken it (and your reputation with it). As we say at ContinuIT Security Corporation, the question is not IF you are going to be under attack, rather, if when the attack happens you will be properly prepared to defend yourself.


Contact us today to request a FREE, no obligation Network Security Assessment! Our engineers will explain in plain English what needs to be done to completely analyze your technology infrastructure to ensure there are no holes that can be exploited to steal your livelihood.

The information we collect is not personally identifiable, provides us no access to your patient data or your network afterwards, and is kept confidential. We can only use it to generate the reports you need to fully understand your risk level and what actions need to take place to fix any problems we can find.

You can download a sample of the reports using the form on the right side of the screen.

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