Care providers more susceptible to cyberattacks than ever, study suggests

Care providers are more susceptible to cyberattacks than ever, according to new research from digital platform security firm Irdeto.

The Irdeto Global Connected Industries Cybersecurity Survey of 232 security decision makers in organisations in the healthcare sector (700 respondents in total) found that 82% have experienced an IoT-focused cyberattack in the past year. Of the organisations hit by an attack, 30% report experiencing compromised end-user safety.

A total of 98% of manufacturers in the healthcare sector and users of IoT devices state that the cybersecurity of the IoT devices they manufacture or use could be improved either to a great extent or to some extent.

The research also found that operational downtime (43%) is the most common impact of a cyberattack, which in itself is likely to compromise patient safety when it comes to providers of critical care. This is followed by compromised customer data (42%) and brand or reputational damage (31%).

It also suggests that healthcare organisations are aware of where the key cybersecurity vulnerabilities exist with their infrastructure, but do not necessarily have everything they need to address them. When asked to identify where the most prominent vulnerabilities exist within healthcare organisations, the IT network was cited most frequently (50%), followed by the mobile devices and accompanying apps (45%) and IoT devices (42%).

In addition to the patient safety issues, failure to address these challenges could prove costly, with the average financial impact as a result of an IoT-focused cyberattack in the healthcare space identified as over $340,000, according to the survey.

Steeve Huin, vice president of strategic partnerships, business development and marketing, Irdeto, said: “The benefits of connectivity in healthcare are clear for all to see, but this growth in connectivity brings with it an increase in vulnerabilities, with hackers looking to steal sensitive medical data, execute targeted attacks against care providers’ infrastructure and much more.

“The industry is clearly aware of the cybersecurity issues it faces, and it is now imperative that organisations upskill and implement robust cybersecurity strategies, incorporating device and app security, to ensure patient safety and optimal care, while preventing the extra costs insurance companies must charge as a result of a cyberattack.”

Almost all (rounded to 100%) of the healthcare organisations surveyed agree that a security solution should be an enabler of new business models, not just a cost, which suggests that attitudes towards IoT security are changing for the better as IoT devices proliferate throughout the sector.

The full report on the survey results can be found here.

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