The year 2021 proved to be an active year in healthcare cybersecurity breaches. COVID-19 presented criminals with numerous opportunities, from ransomware attacks to vaccine and immunization fraud. The industry experienced a 51% increase in data breaches over 2019 numbers.
At a time when hospitals are strained to near their breaking points, these threats can cripple them further. Furthermore, the vaccine and immunization card frauds likely meant more people were exposed to the virus and landed in the hospital. Cyber security for healthcare has never been more critical than in today’s landscape.
Healthcare Cyber Threats for 2022
The new year brought yet another COVID-19 wave and ongoing vulnerabilities in industry cybersecurity. The virus will continue to impact the healthcare system’s ability to protect sensitive medical data and patient information. The pandemic also led to other trends and adaptations that will likely continue past this crisis. The most prevalent threats facing healthcare in 2022 are as follows:
- Increase in data sensitivity: Traditionally, medical data contain sensitive information, providing cybercriminals the leverage they need to hold a hospital system hostage. Now, however, healthcare information is moving off facility computers and tablets and into wearable devices, opening up another data access avenue.
- Increased demand for false documentation: Vaccination rates have plateaued, even though vaccination cards and passports confer more privileges for those who have them. The fraud that began in 2021 is likely to continue and perhaps increase in 2022.
- Increased vulnerability from the telehealth sector: Though telehealth was already on the rise, the pandemic caused a rapid expansion bred by necessity. However, this rapid increase in providers and platforms also presents cybercriminals with new opportunities, particularly since most software developers do not have experience with the applications they create. As such, the likelihood of holes in security increases. Another danger presents itself with the rise in telehealth applications. The potential for criminals to create counterfeit apps to access sensitive information from users is high.
- Increased email phishing risks: The pandemic has led to a rise in the transmission of medical information via email messages. Patients often receive test results and communication from their doctors in their inboxes rather than in person or by phone, presenting cyber criminals with another means to catch people off-guard using fake medical information emails for phishing attacks.
There is little doubt that the healthcare industry is more vulnerable now than ever before. Cybersecurity training is critical, yet few facilities have the resources to spare to train staff or hire security specialists.
Healthcare Cybersecurity Insurance
Your clients face multiple threats and stressors in 2022. Data breaches are often costly and may result in service interruptions, extortion, lawsuits and remediation costs. Healthcare cybersecurity insurance can protect your clients from financial catastrophe if they fall victim to a cybercrime.