Cyberthreats are becoming more sophisticated and more patient data is being collected daily, leaving healthcare organizations with an increased responsibility to protect data.



by Jordan Scott

The healthcare industry is dealing with an onslaught of cyberattacks as bad actors target vulnerable and valuable patient data. The theft of this data through ransomware or phishing attacks can cause major financial losses, erode patient trust or, crucially, affect patient care.

While patients want more access to their data, they also want data privacy. Healthcare organizations must balance both in an increasingly complex and sophisticated threat landscape. Health IT experts discussed the current challenges for healthcare organizations regarding cyberthreats and data privacy at ViVE 2023 in Nashville, Tenn. They explained how the threat landscape is changing, and how collaboration can help.

Mapping the Threat Landscape in Healthcare

In the session “From Hacked to Hero: Cyber State of the Union,” Errol Weiss, chief security officer for Health-ISAC, pointed out that determined nation-states are targeting U.S. health providers for both money and intellectual capital.

“Nation-states have very deep resources,” he explained, with countries such as North Korea conducting concerted ransomware attacks to raise cash due to economic sanctions.

Complicating the cybersecurity landscape for healthcare organizations is the proliferation of nation-state–grade weapons that aren’t difficult to use, according to Nadir Izrael, CTO and co-founder of Armis.

Weiss shared that, according to a Health-ISAC survey of 300 security experts, ransomware is the No. 1 threat to healthcare. Next is phishing attacks, as people still fall for them. He warned that free artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT and Google Bard can help cybercriminals write well-crafted phishing emails, which could impact healthcare organizations.

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