How hackers plan to attack your practice — and what you can do about it

Cyber attacks have always been a threat to healthcare practices, but now more than ever the threat is so imminent that it’s not a matter of if but when this will occur. Are you prepared? Withum’s Domenic Segalla and Matthew Ferrante sat down with Medical Economics to share what you can do to be aware and protect your practice from hackers.

While physicians worked to keep their practices financially afloat and dealt with COVID-19, hackers kept busy, too. From January through October of last year, there were 730 publicly disclosed security breaches with more than 22 billion records exposed, according to the cybersecurity firm Tenable. Health care made up 25% of those breaches with nearly 8 million records exposed. Ransomware was by far the most popular attack method in 2020, making up 46% of the breaches.

With “The success that cybercriminals had in 2020 extorting sizable payouts from medical practices of all sizes ensures that ransomware will indeed remain the top cybersecurity threat in 2021,” says Dave Martin, senior director, product management, threat response, at cybersecurity firm Open Systems. “Ransoms like the $670,000 paid by University Hospital (in) New Jersey last September only encourage further attacks. And while larger institutions can clearly pay bigger ransoms, cybercriminals do not overlook smaller practices, which can be tempting targets of opportunity — particularly those with lax security.”

With health care workers focused on the pandemic response, experts say hackers are taking advantage and ramping up their attacks, meaning it is vital that practices of all sizes be more vigilant than ever about cybersecurity.

This article was originally published by Todd Shryock on Medical Economics Journal on March 5, 2021.

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