Inside Efforts to Combat Cyber Attacks on Healthcare

Technology implementation, along with many personnel working from home, has led to more attacks

February 2, 2021

In November 2020, the FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services warned that with the increased use of technology in healthcare due to the in COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities are being aggressively targeted by hackers. For IT managers, the growing wave of attacks has complicated an already challenging environment.

As health care organizations have responded quickly to deal with the fast-moving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, several factors have contributed to creating a climate ripe for cyberattacks against the field, according to Health Facilities Management

Hospitals quickly moved to expand patient care services outside of healthcare facilities through technologies such as telehealth and remote patient monitoring, says John Riggi, senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk at the American Hospital Association. This, along with many health care personnel being encouraged to work from home, has expanded the attack surface for cybercriminals. 

Although the expansion of network-connected technologies in healthcare have been vital to slowing the spread of the pandemic, the expanded cyberattack surface combined with increased types of attacks and fewer resources have led to more threats against hospitals and health systems.

In 2020, the American Society for Health Care Engineering developed a monograph, Best Practices Framework for Health Care Cyber-Physical Protection: For the Project Construction Team, to help facilities professionals learn more about cybersecurity and the way proper management of OT plays a crucial role in keeping health care facilities safe.

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Topic Area: Information Technology

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