Telemedicine is the way of the future in medicine. Before the current epidemic, telehealth had already absorbed a significant share of the medical industry’s growth potential. Telehealth utilization surged from 11 percent to 46 percent after COVID, according to McKinsey forecasts, with providers seeing up to 175 times as many patients as before. With 76 percent of consumers expressing interest in telehealth, the future seems bright. Overall, McKinsey estimates that the telemedicine business has a $250-billion-dollar development potential. However, all of this expansion comes with significant hazards.

Telehealth and telemedicine businesses are the waves of the future in the healthcare industry. They are, nevertheless, in the vanguard of our COVID-accelerated future. Cybercrime targeting telemedicine has increased dramatically. Medical data breaches are increasing.

Why hackers are attracted to hack into telemedicine systems?

Telehealth and telemedicine are some of the world’s most profitable industries because of their magnitude. However, because of the large number of stakeholders, including clients and employees, it is a prime target. This industry also holds one of the most prized loot for cybercriminals: PHI of patients.

The following are a few examples of PHI (Personal Health Information): –

  1. PII (Personally Identifiable Information) about the demographics of patients
  2. Patients’ medical histories, as well as the results of their various medical tests
  3. Information about a patient’s medical and life insurance
  4. Financial details of patients and their mode of payment used to pay the hospital bills

Techniques implemented by hackers to obtain PHI

In addition to the PHI-based dangers inherent to the medical industry, telehealth operators face the same basic vulnerabilities as all businesses. While not all telemedicine cybersecurity vulnerabilities are related to PHI, they are by far the most serious threats. To steal PHI from telehealth providers, cybercriminals use a number of vulnerabilities and employ a complicated set of strategies.

Most of the hospitals have not strengthened the security of their cyberinfrastructure. Loopholes in any company’s cyberdefense create opportunities for hackers to take control of assets and cause havoc.

Inadequate firewalls cannot block incoming viruses and malware. Hence, hackers utilize insecure networks to gain access to various corporate systems and devices. Hackers can get around password protection thanks to flaws in authentication mechanisms. Once they infiltrate, the unencrypted data stored in servers are easier to steal and mobilize.

Medical professionals often lack end-user security awareness essential to defend against malicious social engineering tactics adopted by cybercriminals. Even the most well-protected cyberdefense system must accommodate for human mistakes across several employees and clientele accounts. Users who haven’t been properly instructed may configure passwords and settings that are not secure. Users may also be duped into compromising their own accounts through social engineering. Hackers may get access to physical areas and take advantage of unsupervised endpoints.

Targeting the mission-critical hospital network infrastructure with DoS and DDoS attacks is again a very common and brutal technique. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks usually target servers, ultrasound machines, ventilators, and pacemakers. Cybercriminals bombard a continuous stream of access requests to the hospital network. This overwhelms the server systems and disrupts the usual network operations. The daily mission-critical operations are slowed or perhaps stopped as a result of this hyper network traffic. Hackers also take advantage of newly discovered flaws, often dubbed as Zero-Day vulnerabilities. Alternatively, hackers may demand a ransom before restoring normal service. Combinations of attacks, using numerous vulnerabilities at once, are being used by the most dedicated and notorious hackers.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) of 1996 was created to ensure that PHI and the medical and health-related profession as a whole had uniform security requirements. It is administered and monitored by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The hazards created by cybercrime cannot be totally eliminated by adhering to the specific regulations and measures that each rule requires. However, compliance is a set of procedures that minimizes vulnerabilities and mitigates hazards in the telemedicine and healthcare industries. It’s not easy to comply with HIPAA. It is advised to hire professional services. The professional cybersecurity company will aid the business to evaluate their information security posture. They also help in deploying the precautions as well as handling the patchwork to ensure that all loopholes are closed or at least monitored. This is one of the best approaches to ensure the safety and security of your telemedicine systems and data.

Centex Technologies provide complete IT infrastructure and Cybersecurity solutions for businesses including medical establishments. For more information on how you can protect your systems, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213-4740, Dallas (972) 375-9654, Atlanta (404) 994-5074, and Austin (512) 956-5454