Hospitals, clinics, medical or aesthetic centers, like almost all other sectors, are advancing and increasingly depending on computer tools, digitized information and communication systems that allow them to easily and effectively cover patient and employee data. This entire network of devices, tools, equipment and software needs to be connected 24/7, also containing a huge amount of confidential information, which makes this sector an extremely valuable target for cybercriminals.
Cybercrime against the clinical sector has been growing more and more, where the purpose of cybercriminals ranges from administrative fraud or the attempted illicit acquisition of medicines, to the impersonation of medical personnel or theft of patient information.
A recent study conducted by the Society for Health Information and Management Systems, HIMSS, revealed that 150 hospitals in the United States suffered attacks or attempted cyber attacks, where the main objectives of the hackers consisted of medical identity theft , the commercialization of stolen information on the black market and the theft of medical records and personal data of patients.
Recently, ransomware attacks have been presented that present an imminent risk in the medical sector, since these malicious codes could block or encrypt the information of an entire hospital and truncate its proper functioning, even putting the health of patients at risk. patients.
Recently in Spain there was an event that caught the world’s attention, when the company Abbott, in charge of designing and manufacturing pacemakers for different hospitals, reported that they found different vulnerabilities in the filmware of their devices, which implied a possible risk against cyber attacks that compromised the health of hundreds of patients who wore their pacemakers. The people who wore them had to undergo a filmware update to improve safety, however, the fact of carrying out this update also involved risks, since while it was being updated, the pacemaker works in backup mode, which generated general discomfort in the patients. patients, in addition to loss of information. increasing the risk, it was learned that if the user had presented tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, the pacemaker would have been useless while it was being updated. In about 1% of patients the update was not effective and the device continued to work with the previous version of the filmware.
Prevention is better than cure
Can you imagine what would happen if cybercriminals manage to access a pacemaker, or manage to steal the private information of thousands of patients with special diagnoses, conditions, allergies, medications they consume, among many other highly sensitive data? It sounds disastrous and it is. This is why cybersecurity or computer security should not be an issue outside the health sector, on the contrary, at the same time that technological advances that facilitate the prevention and treatment of diseases or equipment that contribute to surgeries are growing. and procedures, it is necessary to be at the forefront with equipment that protects the information of hospitals, health centers and, above all, of patients who leave not only their health but also their privacy and personal information in the hands of professionals.
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