The 6 Best Cybersecurity Stories of the Year

Samara Rosenfeld
JANUARY 03, 2019
cybersecurity

As cybercrime evolves, so does cybersecurity. And over the past year, experts in healthcare and cybersecurity tried to stay up to date on the best ways to keep their data and patients’ information safe. The increase in technology can play a large part in a company being targeted for a cyberattack, and with more tech and interoperability in hospitals and primary care, the chances of the wrong person getting their hands on someone’s personal information increases. What’s worse, many employees in the health system are not prepared to deal with cybersecurity issues in general.

There’s still hope, though. With training and the development of new cybersecurity hardware, health systems have a chance to double-down on their security measures.
 
>> READ: Combating the Big Security Risks at Small Hospitals

Our top six cybersecurity stories of 2018 offer helpful insights for health systems to ensure they are employing proper cybersecurity techniques. But these stories also detail a string of cyberattacks that left the health sector in a state of panic, illustrating just how badly things can go wrong.
 
6. What Increased EHR Accessibility Means for Cybersecurity
 
As the vice president of strategic programs at Fortinet, Jonathan Nguyen-Duy, MBA, knows a thing or two about cybersecurity. In this column, he writes about enabling the widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) — and the drawbacks of the tech. Almost all hospitals are using EHRs, and many want to integrate their EHRs with other systems. But with the increased accessibility and interoperability comes a greater risk for cybersecurity issues. Nguyen-Duy offers security measures that health organizations can take to enhance their EHR security.
 
5. A Curious, New Hardware Fix For Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
 
Researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara may have a method to prevent devices from cloning, or creating digital copies of a network and sabotaging the original system. The chip, called memristor, makes any device using it difficult for a hacker to replicate. But memristors are not quite ready for widespread adoption yet.
 
4. Blockchain Could Be the Key to Healthcare’s Cybersecurity Problem
 
Blockchain is considered by many to be the most secure way to exchange data — and it could be an important tool in healthcare moving forward. Researchers looked at the implications of using blockchain technology to help healthcare organizations more easily and securely share data. The team evaluated Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Chain, which uses a blockchain-based approach to enable “trustless” exchange with a decentralized approach to data sharing. The research shows that blockchain could be the key to fixing the healthcare industry’s security issues. But is it just hype?
 
3. 3 Things That Healthcare Must Understand About Cybersecurity
 
Cybersecurity has evolved immensely, and traditional approaches to cyber risk are becoming less effective. Fernando Martinez, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief digital officer of the Texas Hospital Association, and Bob Chaput, founder and CEO of Clearwater Compliance, detail three facts about cybersecurity in 2018 that show the transformation of the healthcare industry’s approach to cybersecurity.
 
2. Who’s to Blame for Healthcare’s Cybersecurity Problem? Its Employees, For Starters
 
Earlier this year, a report from the privacy and security awareness firm MediaPro revealed that most healthcare employees aren’t properly prepared to handle basic cybersecurity threats. But fear not. Healthcare executives and employees can do something about this.
 
1. WannaCry, NotPetya, and Cyberwarfare’s Threat to Healthcare
 
This a big one. Back in 2017, massive cyberattacks compromised tens of thousands of servers within two months. This was costly. And it wasn’t just the health sector that was affected. A cyberattack called WannaCry shut down clinics, deferring ambulances and canceling roughly 20,000 appointments. Another cybercrime called NotPetya had devastating consequences for the healthcare sector as a whole and led to Congress getting involved. A year later, and companies were still trying to figure out what had happened. Unfortunately, these incidents might just be the beginning of an all-out cyberwar.

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