Healthcare News & Insights

5 ways to stop cyberattacks on your hospital

If your hospital experienced a cyberattack, it would severely disrupt operations. To avoid any problems, facilities need to make sure their IT departments are being proactive with network security by detecting and eliminating threats quickly. 

Hospitals need to go beyond just installing antivirus software and updating programs regularly, however.

The most forward-thinking health IT pros will push facilities to put more specific protections in place to avoid ransomware attacks, data breaches and other issues that can compromise data security on networks and hardware.

Prevent cybercrime in your hospital

According to an article from TechTarget, here are five new strategies your hospital can use to decrease the likelihood of a cyberattack or hacking incident:

  1. Increase available funding for end-user training. Many instances where malicious software, or malware, infects a hospital’s network can be traced to human error on behalf of end users like hospital staff. Whether they enter confidential login credentials on unsecured websites or download unfamiliar attachments, one small mistake often leads to days of headaches for hospital IT departments. But by boosting your facility’s training budget for end users, many of these problems may disappear. Regular staff training on best practices when sending email or browsing the Internet can make a huge difference toward reducing these errors.
  2. Improve email protections and endpoint security. Spam filters have become much more sophisticated over the past several years. But they don’t catch every malicious email message. That’s why many hospitals are investing in advanced email protections such as automatic attachment scanning and malicious website blocking to protect users in case they accidentally click on an infected message or file. The extra layer of security these measures provide can be beneficial for your hospital.
  3. Keep Internet browsers from spreading infections. Hackers are moving beyond email and are using websites to install malicious programs onto hospitals’ machines. In one of the newest schemes, they’re installing “exploit kits” on trusted websites so unsuspecting visitors unknowingly download the files as they browse the site. Then the cybercriminals can use the exploit kit to seize access to the computer and potentially steal data. To avoid inadvertently installing an exploit kit, many vendors (such as Microsoft) are now offering enhanced protections for Internet browsers. For an additional fee, these tools are able to protect hospitals from problems caused by exploit kits.
  4. Place more focus on disaster recovery. Not every facility has a complete contingency plan in place in case of a cyberattack or hacking incident that disrupts the hospital’s daily operations. Your IT department needs to add specific information into your hospital’s disaster-recovery plan that lays out the steps it’ll take should an incident occur. To be fully prepared for a disaster, IT may have to purchase new equipment to back up data (or invest in data storage through the cloud).
  5. Analyze the traffic that occurs on hospital networks. Once hackers get access to a hospital’s network, they can wreak havoc, stealing patient data and limiting staff’s access to critical information. Health IT pros need to constantly monitor their hospitals’ networks, looking for any irregularities in normal traffic patterns. This is the first indication that cyberattackers may have infiltrated the network, and the sooner this unusual traffic is detected, the better.

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