You’re sitting on your couch at home, it’s 8:00 on a Saturday night and one of your interns emails you about a new security vulnerability he just heard about on the latest and greatest podcast. You know that this new vulnerability is going to be the first thing to come up during the morning water cooler talk Monday morning. It’s time for you, the great server admin, to take flight and protect your kin!
The reason we wear our seat belts is not to avoid getting a ticket from the police, but rather to avoid a potential injury in a car accident. This analogy is an easy way to describe the difference between box-checking security and real security, and it's instantly understood regardless of technical knowledge. This message resonates with executives, because they typically prefer to “get to the point” and correctly protecting their data is “the point” of cybersecurity.
“What are the top 7 things you can do to protect your business from hackers?” Have you ever read a list like that on the internet? In the cybersecurity realm, they’re everywhere. I’ve even assembled and presented one of those lists to a group of business owners myself. They tend to point out things like user awareness training, patching and passwords. All noble things to get your arms around, of course, but are they useful to a client? Sometimes I feel as though those lists, as true as they are, are about as useful as telling a football team to “score touchdowns”, or “guard the quarterback.” Yeah, I know that scoring touchdowns is good… but how?
Cybersecurity in the healthcare field has gone through a lot changes the past few years. In 2016 there was a significant jump in the total number of healthcare specific cybercrimes. According to SecurityIntelligence there was a 71% increase of confirmed data breaches in the healthcare sector from 2015 to 2016. Drilling down on that increase revealed that most of the jump was from external (aka "hacking" or ransomware or malware") followed by internal non-malicious (aka accidents from insiders). Trends are showing that cybercriminals have found more value in healthcare data and the potential for long term use is much higher because it is more difficult to change an individual’s "health data". Another eye-opener is that the type of healthcare entities affected is not limited to hospitals. Business associates, specialized care providers and healthcare plan have all been targets for cyber crime. Oncology, anesthesiology, orthopedic, and radiology are a few of the specific entities that were in the top 10 largest healthcare breaches of 2016. This data tells us that cybercriminals will target or find data outside of the large medical providers and may even be targeting the organizations that have lagged behind in implementing security controls.