As telemedicine continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it has become clear that providers and vendors must change their cyber-security practices to keep pace and properly protect patients’ privacy and security. Any failure to do so may lead to dire consequences.
The rise in cyber-threats in the medical industry
There is evidence of increasing cyber-threats in the market. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many service providers to move their services into the virtual world. This digital migration has created a host of new challenges for telemedicine service vendors, care givers, clinics and patients.
The transition from traditional to connected healthcare is challenging. The number of observed cyber-attacks on IoT devices rose by 300 per cent in 2019 alone. It’s estimated that 50 billion connected medical devices will be connected to clinical systems over the next decade, which demonstrates the size and threat of the opportunity for hackers. When a cyber-attack is successful, patients and healthcare providers become vulnerable as sensitive health data is breached.
There have been two terrifying recent examples of ransomware attacks, in the US and Germany, that are examples of how vulnerable systems can be, and the potential consequences of a worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, these attacks are just two alarming examples of the current state of telemedicine cyber-security and reinforce why it is so important for companies to remain vigilant during these times.
Cyber-threats: inside the numbers
There are alarming trends: From 2018 to 2019, health record breaches rose from approximately 14 million to more than 41 million. Breaching HIPAA acts enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has severe consequences: the average financial penalty for a breach in 2019 was close to £1 million. But the hefty fines don’t seem to be motivation enough for improvements in the health care market that are now desperately needed.
Stealing health records is a lucrative business for cyber-criminals: they can be sold on the dark web for close to £1,000 – 200 times the black market value of financial records. This makes health records the most valuable type of records being traded by criminals, since they provide a comprehensive and complete picture of a person’s health background and identity. Cyber-criminals can then harvest this information and sell them to forgers, human traffickers, terror organisations, hostile countries, drug cartels and other criminals.
Facing the challenges
We think about the challenges that our customers face every day and we want to help. At Irdeto, we offer modular cyber-security solutions and services to a wide variety of industries, including medical technology and telehealth companies. These tailored solutions protect software and medical devices from cyber-attacks, meet regulatory requirements and protect patient safety.
But at Irdeto, we don’t just serve big companies. We know that cyber-security in all industries, especially healthcare, is everyone’s responsibility. So we aim to level the playing field for smaller med-tech companies by enabling and empowering them with the ability to use our portfolio of market-leading cyber-security and our extensive patent library of security technologies. This enables them to protect their solutions while providing optimal security that keeps patients safe.
You need credible cyber-security to succeed
Due to constant threats and industry challenges, it should be mandatory for top professionals to practice effective cyber-security management. Stakeholders need to re-assess how they tackle cyber-risk and implement effective cyber-security measures within their respective areas. Protecting software running on medical devices should now be the top priority for all connected device makers and telehealth providers.
Software applications are becoming an increasingly significant part of the attack surface, and unprotected software applications can leave a trail of breadcrumbs that can be reverse-engineered to disrupt a platform that delivers vital care.
As healthcare continues to evolve, who can tell what the next vulnerable entry point for hackers will be? Successful providers in the coming years will be those who can employ cyber-security strategies that protect patient data and stop hackers from breaching the network. Businesses simply cannot move forward and innovate in the telemedicine space until there is ubiquitous cyber-security that protects the most crucial data from those who badly want to access and corrupt it.
Curious about your cyber-security options and want to learn more about our offering? Please visit us at https://irdeto.com/
By Steeve Huin, Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for Business Development, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Irdeto