Challenges facing cybersecurity in healthcare

Challenges facing cybersecurity in healthcare

Cybercriminals are constantly searching for methods of penetrating major infrastructure within a country, particularly healthcare systems. Securing healthcare systems is a necessary requirement for governments and all stakeholders involved in providing healthcare services to patients. The challenging aspect of adopting stringent cybersecurity pertains to how successful cybercriminals are with breaching system security. Medical technology is evolving rapidly, however adversaries are adapting their threats for innovative technologies.


Healthcare systems are a lucrative target since the percentage of sensitive data held by healthcare providers is remarkably high, hence providing cybercriminals the opportunity to commit identity and cyber fraud. Moreover, the use of novel technologies to provide ease of accessibility to patients is starting to become a norm, with GP surgeries providing online services. Problems surrounding online services relate to adversaries hacking online systems to steal sensitive patient data. In addition, if healthcare providers use mobile applications, cybercriminals are targeting mobile devices to install malware. In certain incidents, ransomware is used to gain control of systems to generate monetary benefits.


The latest trends among fitness consumers is to invest in wearable technology which in terms of cybersecurity is proving to be challenging. Though, Internet of Things is an innovative concept which seeks to allow the connecting of everyday objects or things to the Internet, maintaining security of all the objects connecting to the Internet is problematic because users are choosing to keep the default factory set passwords. Subsequently, allowing hackers to easily gain access to personal information.


TechDecoded recommends the following tips for healthcare organisations, professionals and patients:
  • Change default passwords on IoT objects immediately – Cybercriminals can easily hack IoT objects with default passwords gaining access to sensitive information.
  • Educate healthcare professionals – Healthcare providers must ensure cyber education of employees and ensure that all efforts are made to minimise risks.
  • Maintain comprehensive cybersecurity policies – Enhanced cybersecurity policies safeguard organisational infrastructure by providing heightened security consequently presenting challenges for hackers. Adherence to policies must be strictly applied by employees to avoid security breaches.
  • Backup sensitive data – Healthcare providers must back up data frequently to avoid paying ransom in the catastrophic event of a ransomware attack.
  • Develop contingency plans - Develop and implement incident response plans, allowing planning for a catastrophic event can reduce the impact of the attack.
  • Develop a security plan – The purpose of developing an extensive security plan is to identify risks, vulnerabilities and to realise the impact of a potential cyber-attack. A robust security plan can help create dimensional and layered cybersecurity preventing cyber-attacks and thwarting hackers.