If you have been paying attention to the news, you have likely heard about ransomware attacks. These attacks hijack computers, networks, and/or devices and demand a ransom be paid to return control. Ransomware hackers have targeted numerous healthcare organizations along with other businesses of varying sizes and industries. These brutal digital attacks are an excellent example of why there is a rapidly growing need for top-notch MSP Business cybersecurity.
Ransomware Could be a Blessing in Disguise
No one desires for their computer or network to be hacked, frozen, and held for ransom. However, ransomware attacks could prove to be a boon when viewed from a long-term perspective. These nasty attacks have prompted countless organizations to ramp up their digital safeguards with MSP cybersecurity initiatives. This is particularly true for organizations in the healthcare industry that have proven quite vulnerable. Some such organizations have temporarily lost control of their computer systems and medical devices after enduring a ransomware attack. It is clear that hackers have figured out how to sidestep the typical digital safeguards. In fact, these digital attacks have taken place in 150 nations.
A Wake-UP Call?
Some view ransomware as a wake-up call of sorts for those MSP Businesses who are in denial about cybersecurity threats. The damage of these attacks stretches far beyond losing control of one’s computer. Plenty of patients in Britain were unable to have important surgeries performed after the massive digital attack on the nation’s healthcare system. Even ambulances were negatively affected by the attacks. One thing is for sure: healthcare providers are stepping up their cybersecurity safeguards in the aftermath of the ransomware attacks.
The attacks highlighted the dangers of leaving antiquated computer software exposed to digital wrongdoers. They also highlighted the slow responses of targeted healthcare companies. Some proved incapable of implementing digital security patches in a timely manner. When such patches were applied, many proved ineffective. It is clear that the healthcare industry and hospitals, in particular, are extremely vulnerable to digital attacks.
Why Hospitals Face a Heightened Risk
Hospitals face an elevated risk as they use software programs provided by an array of vendors. These programs are embedded within the costly medical equipment. The upgrade of an overarching operating system is cost-prohibitive. In some instances, an upgrade would require the hospital to spend millions of dollars on new software.
Add in the fact that many software programs are rife with their own unique problems along with a “no liability” vendor policy and it is easy to understand why so many of these institutions decided to stand pat until the recent attacks. An upgrade often forces a recertification process to boot. Even applying upgrades can make things that much more complicated.
Even the Government is Responding to Ransomware
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security have weighed in on how to best combat ransomware and other digital attacks. The FDA is holding public workshops to educate medical providers about cybersecurity protocols. Other government agencies are communicating with healthcare organizations to spur elevated vigilance.
Hackers will likely attempt to build upon prior attacks in the coming months and years. The Health and Human Services and Homeland Security departments have made it known that some medical devices have already been infected by ransomware. There is a clear call to action issued to healthcare providers across the land to implement new digital safeguards and anticipate the worst. One of the best ways to safeguard hospital equipment is by maintaining an accurate inventory count at all times. After all, some of the hackers understand the vulnerabilities of clinical networks’ devices better than the digital security professionals at hospitals.
The Continued Fight Against Ransomware
The manner in which the healthcare industry responds to ransomware attacks will set the tone for this evolving battle. Cybersecurity professionals are adamant that healthcare technology management experts will play a critical role in the quest to ward off cyber attacks. MSP business cybersecurity experts, the business community, and government officials are watching the healthcare industry’s response to ransomware with great anticipation. The manner in which this saga unfolds will undoubtedly shape ensuing responses to similar digital attacks.