Avoid These Data Security Blunders For Your Medical Practice

In 2020, the number of **data security breaches** in the medical industry significantly increased.

Medical records include sensitive information and have long been a favorite target for hackers. The danger of data privacy breaches in healthcare escalated more during the [COVID-19 pandemic](

It appears every day as though another hospital data system got hacked. Individuals are notified of the incident through email, and two years of free credit and identity monitoring are included as a comforting bonus.

The message is clear—it is now more crucial than ever to take steps to avoid data breaches in healthcare.

Security Breach

What are the Causes of Data Breach?

An insider who purposely or mistakenly releases patient data or stolen misplaced laptops and other devices are all examples of situations that might lead to data breaches.

Personal health information (PHI) is more valuable than credit card credentials or standard Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in the black market. As a result, cybercriminals have a greater motivation to attack medical databases.

Alarming Data Breach Statistics

  • Hospitals are responsible for 30% of all major data breaches.
  • A data breach occurred in 18% of teaching hospitals.
  • Data breaches were reported by 6% of pediatric institutions.
  • Unauthorized access or disclosure is responsible for 34% of healthcare data breaches.

Data Security Blunders

User Error

Simple patient-user error is a typical healthcare data security issue in hospitals. Your medical privacy is in your control once you've accessed your test results through your provider's portal. Suppose you save your data in unencrypted cloud files or transmit your results to your mother via email. In that case, it becomes easy for a hacker to gain access to your personal medical information.

While HIPAA regulations apply to providers, users aren't often as careful. Ensure you're following best practices for healthcare data security, such as being aware of what you keep where and utilizing strong encryption wherever feasible, even in your emails.

Unsecured Devices

Security rules aren't always enforced when it comes to healthcare institutions that enable mobile logins. Because all the organization's planning and security do not affect employee communication devices, leaving its networks exposed to viruses and hackers.

Network information or passwords may still be available when staff disposes of equipment as part of an update, providing a natural entry point for crooks. Employers have little power unless the firm offers its assigned device use in its premises or outright prohibits user devices.

Online Medical Data

Online medical equipment is frequently insecure, making them ideal targets for hackers. Infusion pumps, for example, are used to transmit information to the clinician and patient involved exclusively.

However, as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) expands, these devices will be able to export data to external sources and communicate with the world beyond the hospital. This information might be intercepted or modified, resulting in a slew of problems. Hackers might also acquire access to most objects connected to the network, including how the devices work.

Outdated Medical Devices

Medical predictive analysis equipment is rather costly, and healthcare practitioners must manage their limited resources carefully. As a result, hospitals are still employing technology that is decades old, with some equipment running software that the vendors no longer maintain—the same for service providers' IT systems.

The WannaCry ransomware assault, which attacked the NHS and other organizations, spread because of a known weakness in older versions of Windows.

Unrestricted Access to Hospital Data and Systems

Unauthorized workers or anyone in the region can readily access computers, not in restricted places. They might swiftly obtain devastating information if these available PCs are connected to sensitive patient information.

In other circumstances, successful phishing efforts on machines with public access provide a mechanism for hackers to gain access to more sensitive network regions. Ensure that any computer with patient data is in a safe area.

Unexpected Malware Attacks

Installation of dangerous scripts on a computer or the theft of login credentials by sophisticated malware and phishing attempts can jeopardize a whole system. One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with ransomware is that all it takes is one seemingly trustworthy link to bring a malicious cyber presence into your network. It's critical to teach employees how to spot typical phishing scams.

One popular ruse is emails from legitimate-looking websites to request login credentials, something trustworthy firms never do through email. With this, hackers can easily log in to the hospital system and access information. Viruses will harvest record-keeping data and either send it back to their original host or keep a backdoor entrance available for subsequent exploitation.

Hospital Staff

Patient files are easily accessible to employees. While the vast majority will not misuse their position, some might. Criminals may exploit this sort of information for identity theft, but it can also be used to threaten or coerce people. Employees can steal documents in a variety of ways.

They may gain access to private financial records and use patient credit card details to make a series of fraudulent purchases. Employees can steal face papers, including demographic and social security information, to perpetrate various crimes.

Cloud Technology

Cloud Technology

Patient data is exposed to the vulnerabilities of the cloud and individual mobile devices due to the expanding business of mobile healthcare apps. While HITECH requires the encryption of PHI, encryption in the cloud is a touchy subject.

Encrypting data at rest in the cloud is very straightforward. Encrypting data in use, that is, data utilized by an application rather than lying in storage, is significantly more difficult. To guarantee that their cloud and mobile technology usage does not violate HIPAA, hospitals must be careful with their security and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) regulations.

Final Words

The healthcare industry is not alone concerning data security cyber protection. For years, small businesses have struggled to find solutions to cybersecurity concerns, and one of the most effective approaches is to include all employees in network security. Specific assaults and responses will develop as technology progresses, but certain broad staff principles might help prevent cyber thieves.

Interested in seeing how medical practices can work wonders for you? Check out Doctor Genius, our blog section, to get information!