How to Safeguard Your Data from the Latest Cyber Schemes

Healthcare data is a hot commodity on the black market. This means that companies in the medical industry are prime targets for cybercriminals. At the same time, the medical industry must comply with strict regulations that include the protection of health information. To avoid fines and lawsuits, you need to safeguard your data from the latest cyber schemes.

Mobile Devices Lead to Data Breaches

Cyber criminals will do anything to get healthcare data. While this sometimes includes exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems or infecting computers with malware, it can also include old-fashioned theft. The rise of mobile devices is making this easier than ever.

As devices have gotten smaller, they’ve also gotten easier to steal. Information may be stored on portable devices, such as laptops or flash drives, and employees may take these devices with them when they work outside the office. If the devices are lost or stolen, a data breach can result.

This is what happened at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, URMC has agreed to pay $3 million after a lost flash drive and a stolen laptop, both of which were unencrypted, resulted in a data breach.

"Because theft and loss are constant threats, failing to encrypt mobile devices needlessly puts patient health information at risk," said Roger Severino, Office for Civil Rights Director.

Ransomware Is Getting More Sophisticated

Healthcare data can be breached. It can also be taken ransom.

A ransomware attack known as WannaCry made headlines in 2017 when it spread through more than 150 countries. As with other incidents of ransomware, the malware infected computer systems to take control of files, and victims were told to pay a ransom to have their systems restored. However, according to a White House Press Briefing, which attributed the attack to North Korea, computers were not unlocked after ransoms were paid. Although many types of organizations were impacted, the National Health Service in the U.K. was among the hardest hit.

Since then, the threat of ransomware has grown. On October 2, 2019, the FBI issued a public service announcement on ransomware. According to the PSA, “Ransomware attacks are becoming more targeted, sophisticated, and costly.” Common targets include health care organizations.

The FBI says that cybercriminals are using three main techniques to infect computers with ransomware:

Protect Your Data

All businesses must take steps to keep data safe, but this is especially true for the medical industry.

With escalating and ever-evolving threats, cyber liability insurance is no longer a nice to have. Ask your business insurance broker to help you assess your options.