Industry Articles

Healthcare or Health scare: Is the medical industry putting patients personal data at risk?

Whether we like it or not, our everyday lives are run by data. We must give our information in exchange for the most basic necessities: money, food, education, employment and health. But in doing so, are we being compromised?

Since the dawn of the internet, cyber criminals have targeted our major industries, healthcare included. More vulnerable than a cupcake at a Weight Watchers meeting, our information is just waiting to be taken and passed on to the highest bidder, But shouldn’t there be infrastructure in place to prevent this?

As leading enthusiasts in internet security industry, we at NCryptCellular believe in the proper protection and encryption of your personal data . In 2016 the United States alone saw over 6 Million patient records stolen by cyber crime heavy-weights. Just in that year the healthcare industry was one of the top five of most targeted industries for cyber criminals.

It is not just the networks themselves that are vulnerable. Any device that connects, even for a moment, can be compromised. A new way in for waiting predators, this is not limited to smart devices and computers, but also includes electric wheel chairs, MRI machines and other medical equipment.

While we can’t dispute that software updates are being done, we have to question whether free software updates from archaic software vendors on old hardware are enough so keep our data safe?

One of the biggest weaknesses that allows criminals to take advantage of the health care industry is outdated hardware. Old hardware makes it more difficult to update or patch the systems and software. This levels the playing field for attackers from all over the globe. While we can’t dispute that software updates are being done, we have to question whether free software updates from archaic software vendors are enough so keep our data safe?

Data stolen from millions of trusting patients is sold on the dark web. It is chilling to wonder what a stranger can access for a small sum of just two hundred dollars. Your name, address, medical data, signatures, date of birth, phone number and address as well as that of your next of kin. One attacker, under the alias of ‘The Dark Overlord‘ claims to have access to a database of over 9.2 Million records of US residents. This is just one example of information being used to commit fraud, identity theft and cause damage to the lives of victims for years to come.

This begs the question, ‘Why is no one doing anything about this?’

They are.

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is confirming that new hardware and innovative new software are here to challenge the status quo. Big changes are coming in 2018. Watch this space.