Healthcare Ransomware Attacks Are On The Rise
Healthcare ransomware attacks are widespread, creating a heightened risk and need for vigilance and recovery plans. The perceived amounts of money on hand combined with the highly confidential records they host make them a prime target for an attack. Ransomware is a type of malware that infects systems and files, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid. When this occurs in the healthcare industry, critical processes are slowed or become completely inoperable. Healthcare ransomware will lock victims out of the systems they use each day that ensure patients get the care they need.
The Concerns of a Healthcare Ransomware Attack
Ransomware attacks put the entire wellbeing of your organization at risk. Records management systems are not accessible which damages the integrity of your workflow.
The following issues arise through the use of paper-based processes:
- Medication errors
- Lost charges
- Scattered Patient Data
- Security Issues
- Unauthorized access to paper records
- Auditing Issues
- Overtime costs from time-intensive processes
Additionally, third-party payers such as insurance companies or Medicare do not accept manual transmissions. The records for transactions that take place during the shutdown are not included in the daily cash flow. As accounts payable is losing money through a lack of reimbursements, the organization cannot make informed decisions and the entire hospital grinds to a halt.
True Story: Samaritan Medical
Samaritan Medical Center in NY, was a victim of a ransomware attack, costing the organization millions as they had to transition offline for over 5 days relying on paper records, phone calls, and fax machines to get information around the hospital. Non-emergent procedures were canceled reducing available income for the hospital. Luckily, payroll was not affected, and the staff was still able to record working hours.
This attack was only one of 128 successful attacks against healthcare providers that occurred in the first six months of 2020. As long as ransomware attacks remain profitable and relatively low risk, the attacks will continue. Healthcare organizations, therefore, need to take steps to improve their defenses against attacks.
Beginning a Disaster Recovery Plan
Ransomware attacks limit access to crucial data and damage business processes which ultimately hurts your financial status. Shutting down your systems immediately after an attack will limit the spread of malware through your servers. Additionally, your team needs to access the damage and begin your disaster recovery plan. Creating a business continuity plan aims at streamlining the flow of operations or processes after any damage or disaster. This can be shown above as Samaritan Medical Center switched to paper procedures while their online system was being repaired.
How InStream Protects Your Data
Bad agents have found that as long as they are continuously successful in their attacks, they have no reason to stop, instead of finding more creative ways to access your data. InStream works with your team to complete network security testing including annual intrusion prevention and detection assessments on your current system. Completing testing to ensure that your IT department is prepared for disaster recovery and the implementation of a strategy that does not affect business activities or operations. Unforeseen circumstances happen to every business. However, preparation and strategy will be the difference between a successful reboot or a failed recovery.