How Can Ethical Hackers Keep the Healthcare Industry Safer?

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( — November 2, 2022) — The healthcare industry is a sensitive industry. There is a lot of critical data that it deals with day in and day out.  With such data handling comes the threat of cyberattacks. It allows hackers to gain access to the patient’s private information, which can pose a huge risk to patient safety and trust. The growing number of healthcare cyber-attacks is a major concern.

According to a report by the Center for Internet Security, the healthcare industry is subject to at least one cybercrime incident every month. But, organizations in the healthcare sector are working towards improving their cyber security. They are looking for ways to mitigate the chances of any attacks.

One way we can strengthen the safety of data in the healthcare industry is by involving ethical hackers.  They can play a vital role in keeping the healthcare industry safe. Ethical hackers can check the organization’s systems and ensure that there are no breaches. This in turn will ensure that there is no possibility of a cyber-attack. This article will discuss the importance of an ethical hacker for healthcare organizations. We will delve deeper into the benefits of having an ethical hacker to keep your system up to date.

Ways Ethical Hackers Can Help Healthcare Sector

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According to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), there are around 39 million patients that have suffered from losses due to cyber-attacks in the healthcare industry. So, it is vital for organizations to take relevant steps to improve data security. Here is how ethical hackers can help improve patient data security.

Helps You Understand The Next Move Of Cybercriminals 

When it comes to hacking healthcare organizations’ systems, you need to know and foresee the cybercriminal’s next move. This way, you can develop the relevant strategies to counter their actions. Also, you can ensure that they don’t get access to the organization’s vital system or the patients’ data.

Ethical hackers will have an idea of what the cybercriminal’s next plans are and how they can deal with it. The approach is to think like a thief to catch a thief. Moreover, ethical hackers can have a better idea about the loopholes in the systems. They can work on eliminating ways that can allow cybercriminals to lead to data hacks. This leads to another important point which is complying with HIPAA standards.

Ensures there is No Room for Any HIPAA Violations

The Federal Government set the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). All organizations in the healthcare sector must follow the HIPAA standards, such as:

  • Health insurance companies
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
  • Company health plans
  • Specific government programs like Medicare and Medicaid

The paramount responsibility of the medical field and personnel, above everything else, is security.  With the increased use of internet-enabled devices, the healthcare sector has been the target of cybercriminals who target it using ransomware, data breaches, fraud scams, and distributed denial-of-service attacks.  

In layman’s terms, breach of security, disclosure of sensitive patient information via hacking, unauthorized access, phishing, loss or theft of devices, improper filing and disposal of documentation are HIPAA violations that could cost the company dearly, both in terms of manpower, patient trust, and government penalties.  

One effective way health organizations can ensure that they have heightened IT security is by employing ethical hackers for their IT safety and security. It is pivotal for organizations to avoid HIPAA violations and remain compliant.  This requires that they conduct regular, and systematic risk analysis on their systems and personnel via proper training and update.

Allows You to Incorporate Technologies

Changes in the field of science and technology are happening more quickly than we can keep abreast.  There are rapid advancements in the field of technology that have ensured that cybercriminals come up with new and better tools in order to hack into it.

The cybercriminal of today is one step ahead with his methods and targets.  Even if you have a robust cybersecurity system today, chances are it might become outdated or ineffective in a short amount of time.

Ethical breaches in healthcare organizations by ethical hackers will help us understand how effective the system is. They can know if the system and measures like spaced updates, firewall, endpoint protection, data backup, controlled access, and wifi security are enough to keep hackers from infiltrating the system.

Moreover, ethical hackers can stay updated with the new technologies coming in. This way, they can help boost the reliability of the entire system. They can incorporate the new AI-based threat protection tools. As a result, it can add security protections at all system layers.  

AI can be trained to generate threat alerts, identify malware, and protect sensitive data thus protecting the organization from a debilitating cyberattack.

Benefits of Hiring Ethical Hackers

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Hiring ethical hackers can help organizations in the healthcare industry to reap a wide range of benefits. Ethical hackers can become a part of the company’s security staff. This will allow them to improve their efforts toward data privacy and protection. Here are some other benefits of hiring ethical hackers for a healthcare organization.

Educate Others About the Possible Threats

We have seen in various industries how a hacker penetrates a company’s system due to human error. Professionals in the healthcare industry might not be aware of the possible spam emails or links. As a result, it can give hackers access to patients’ data. Thus, it becomes imperative to educate people working in different departments throughout the organization about possible security threats and what the threat looks like.

Ethical hackers can play their role in educating others about how healthcare hacking is possible through anyone’s system. They can tell about the possible tricks and tactics hackers use and how enticing these traps may look like. Training employees can mitigate the chances of a possible cyber-attack.

Simulate Attacks to Find Out the Loopholes in the System

Another benefit of hiring an ethical hacker is that they can conduct some ethical breaches. These simulated attacks in healthcare organizations can check if the system is up to date. These attacks are completely harmless and can reveal possible loopholes and vulnerabilities.  Such simulations also help assess how to make the central data system independent should such an attack really occur.

They can simulate a full-fledged cyber-attack against the system. The hackers ensure there is no harm to the infrastructure or downtime. By doing so, the healthcare organization can identify vulnerabilities in its system. Ethical hackers can work on how they can resolve them.

Evolve and Develop

As mentioned earlier, cybercriminals are working on technological advancements. They look for ways to penetrate healthcare organizations’ infrastructure. But companies and professionals on the other hand have taken measures to that such breaches and infiltration. They are also coming up with new technologies and tools to reduce downtime for an organization.

Having an ethical hacker that has sound knowledge of the new tools and technologies is vital. It will give you an edge over cyber criminals. It will improve the cyber security of your healthcare organization. Also, you can protect the patient’s data in a better way.

Ethical Hackers and the Healthcare Industry — the Bottom Line

Ethical hacking is one of the most prominent and effective techniques for cybersecurity. It is quite common across industries. The professionals vet the entire protection of the organization’s system. They penetrate their technical infrastructure without affecting performance.

Thus, healthcare organizations can hire ethical hackers for their IT teams. This would ensure that they are protected from HIPAA violations. It will help them to improve their efforts in patients’ data protection.

Checking certifications and skills is vital for healthcare organizations when hiring ethical hackers. Ethical hacking certifications tell you about the qualifications and skills of an individual. It allows you to gauge how well-versed an ethical hacker is in the different tips and techniques.