Ransomware and other types of cyberattacks are striking health care systems at an increasing rate. More than one in three health care organizations around the world reported ransomware attacks last year, according to a survey of IT professionals by security company Sophos. About 40 percent of the nearly 330 respondents from the health care sector that weren't attacked last year said they expect to be hit in the future.
In the United States, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services were so concerned with the increase in cyberattacks on hospitals and other health care providers that in October they issued a joint advisory warning of the "increased and imminent cybercrime threat."
But the health care field isn't helpless against cyber threats. The IEEE Standards Association Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice—which is focused on clinical health, the biopharmaceutical value chain, and wellness—recently released Season 2 of the Re-Think Health podcast. The new season features experts from around the world who discuss measures that can help organizations minimize and even prevent attacks. The experts emphasize that cybersecurity is more than an IT concern; they say it needs to be managed from a holistic perspective, aligning employees, technology, and processes within an organization.
The six episodes in Cybersecurity for Connected Healthcare Systems: A Global Perspective are as follows:
- Threat Modeling and Frameworks for Cybersecurity in Connected Health Care Ecosystems. This episode features Florence Hudson, executive director of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub. She provides an overview of several programs and initiatives by the IEEE SA Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice.
- Cracking the Cybersecurity Code to Accelerate Innovation: A View From Australia. Ashish Mahajan, nonexecutive director of the not-for-profit advocacy and research initiative IoTSec Australia, provides insights. He explores vulnerabilities of the data value chain in the Internet of Things ecosystem that could impede innovation in public health, wellness, and health care. Mahajan also chairs the IEEE SA IoT Ecosystem Security Industry Connections program, which aims to work with regulators to promote secure practices.
- Securing Greater Public Trust in Health Through Risk Mitigation: A North America Perspective. T.R. Kane, a cybersecurity, privacy, and forensics partner at PwC, explains how to strategize and how to respond to vulnerabilities. He offers strategies for managing organizational and patient risk.
- Uncovering the Great Risk in Security and Privacy of Health Data in Latin America and Beyond. This eye-opening conversation with cybersecurity forensic technologist Andrés Velázquez highlights common global challenges and inherent obstacles. Velázquez is founder and president of Mattica, based in Mexico City.
- Response and Prevention Strategy in Connected Health: A Perspective From Latin America. Roque Juarez, security intelligence specialist at IBM Mexico, explains how basic principles can be critical to cyber threat management in connected health care systems regardless of whether they are in an emerging or established economy. Roque shares how the COVID-19 pandemic increased the appeal for hackers to breach labs, health care systems, and just about any repository of patient health data and research.
- Cybersecurity, Trust, and Privacy in Connected Mental Health: A Perspective From Europe. The pandemic has increased the application of digital therapeutics such as mobile apps, games, and virtual reality programs for mental health conditions, according to a guidance document issued in April 2020 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This episode explains opportunities and growing challenges in managing duty of care, security, and privacy with a vulnerable population of patients.
Season 1 of the podcast is still available. Pain Points of Integrating New Technologies Into an Existing Healthcare Ecosystem features technologists, researchers, and ethicists discussing insights into opportunities and challenges.
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