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Texas Healthcare Industry Faces a High Risk of Cyberattacks

Texas Healthcare Industry Faces a High Risk of Cyberattacks

Cases of COVID-19 have been surging once again in Texas, with younger patients being admitted to hospitals in unprecedented numbers. While these circumstances are obviously problematic enough, cybercriminals will not hesitate to use the confusion this crisis is creating to their advantage. Let’s go over some of the security risks that healthcare organizations currently face, and what should be done to minimize these risks.

As hospital admissions rise, it becomes all the more important that these and other essential healthcare facilities are able to keep their data secure against threats.

Confusion and Chaos Gives the Cybercriminal an Advantage

When COVID-19 initially caught the world unawares, medical providers and institutions were swiftly slammed with patients. Now that the Delta variant has spread, hospitals are finding themselves in a similar situation as they did then. Compounded with staffing challenges in many areas of the industry, tension is high and room for error is razor-thin.

Making the situation even worse, cybercriminals have used both upticks as an opportunity to attack these healthcare providers and hospitals. If it hasn’t already been seen, you need to ensure that your cybersecurity protocols are at the level they should be.

The importance of these protections is difficult to overstate. As of August 25th, 2021, 963 healthcare providers have had their services disrupted by 38 attacks in this year alone. On top of this, the increasing amount of technology that is found in the average hospital only gives attackers increased opportunities.

Phishing Remains a Considerable Problem

Hospitals are particularly under the threat of phishing attacks, simply because of how much utility an attacker can get out of phishing. It isn’t difficult to come up with scenarios that a phishing attack could be used:

  • One of the most common phishing attacks urges a hospital employee to reset their password for their email or some other critical service, only to inadvertently provide their access credentials to an enterprising cybercriminal.
  • Phishing could be used to steal from the hospital system directly. By spoofing a trusted user’s account, the cybercriminal could fool employees into sending money on behalf of “the doctor” or “the hospital administrator.” Requests to purchase gift cards are particularly suspect.
  • Ransomware has also seen heavy utilization by cybercriminals as a means of targeting hospitals, as it can effectively halt their operations until the criminal gets what they want.

How Can Healthcare Providers Secure Their Data?

There are many security practices that medical offices and healthcare groups should be following… and if they aren’t, they need to start.

Two-Factor Authentication

One way of keeping data secure is to prevent it from being accessed at all by those who shouldn’t. Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a great and simple way to accomplish this. Simply by requiring an additional code upon login, you can better ensure that your resources are far more secure.

Permissions

Addressing which users are able to access certain kinds of data can also help secure your data. After all, if fewer people have access to your data, that’s fewer opportunities for a hacker to take advantage of one of your team members to get at it.

Team Preparedness

It is critical that your team members are fully prepared to deal with threats—not only familiar with the processes required to do so but also able to remain calm under the pressure of these threats. This can only be accomplished via training and regular reviews.

It is also very important to consider that, despite all the preparations you might make, mistakes can always happen. This is especially true when a healthcare provider is operating at peak capacity as many hospitals are now.

All of this means that healthcare providers need assistance with their IT, particularly now. We can provide this assistance, caring for the IT that hospitals and healthcare providers require to operate properly. 

One thing that makes us stand out as a great IT provider for Texas healthcare organizations is that we always take a security-first approach, and make it incredibly easy for your staff to get the technical support they need when they need it. We encourage you to reach out to us to talk about your IT needs. Give us a call at (512) 343-8891 today.

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