The healthcare sector continues to face an increasing number of cyber threats, any one which can compromise patient data, disrupt critical healthcare services, and cause financial harm to healthcare providers.
Whilst the true scale of it remains an enigma – due to continued underreporting across all sectors - 2021 stats from a US Cyber company (Herjavec Group) make for stark reading.
Healthcare provider attacks have more than quadrupled since 2017
Attacks don’t just steal or encrypt data – they are now targeting internet enabled medical devices (MRI scanners) and interfering with their productivity
It is highly likely that cyber-attacks have resulted in deaths and serious injury of patients
93% of healthcare organisations had suffered a cyber enabled data breach over the past 3 years. Two thirds had had 5 or more.
Most healthcare providers felt ill-equipped to deal with the threat of cyber-attacks against their organisation
The general accepted wisdom within the cybersecurity industry is that no organisation can fully protect itself from attack and as a result you should assume that you are going to become the victim of a cyber-attack. And that means you need to have a plan to deal with it once that happens.
What is incident response?
The first sign of a cyber-attack may be a member of staff asking, ‘Why can’t I open my files?’ But remember that most cyber-attacks are conducted by stealth, and they will not always want to be found. So, the first consideration is ‘Do we have a process to proactively look for cyber-attacks even when everything is operating normally?’ As a member of the ECRC you will receive free updates about vulnerabilities that have been flagged by other organisations specifically to help the wider community. Including you.
Unfortunately, the first time that an organisation discovers they need an Incident Response Plan often coincides with the realisation that they don’t actually have one. The plan itself is simply a document containing the details of key personnel who you can contact if you are worried that you have been victim of a cyber-attack. It also contains key information to help you move through the various stages of containment and then recovery. Having a good response plan means that you are more likely to come through the experience more quickly and efficiently and with less of your systems exposed to the hack. And the responsibility for establishing and maintaining a plan is down to the business owner and not the managed service provider you use for your IT.
If you find that you have been breached, you may never find out exactly how – what is important is that at that point the criminals still have access to your network. The wrong decisions now could have a devastating effect on your business, and you could face additional, financial, and reputational loss if you don’t make the right decisions next.
As can be seen in the below diagram you will start in the triage stage of the breach, trying to figure out what the scale of the breach is and the impact now and in the future.
What can I do now?
Increasingly cyber experts are accepting that blocking all cyber-attacks is not an achievable outcome and that it makes sense to be prepared for when the breach occurs. Being well prepared for a breach is a key step in making yourself resilient in the online world. To save you the time of having to start one from scratch – go to our tools section and download an incident plan for free. All you have to do is read it and fill in the key bits of information and you have a document that you can rely on if the worst actually happens.
Practice Practice Practice
Once you’ve got an incident response plan prepared the next stage to establish your readiness is to try it out in a safe environment. The National Cyber Security Centre’s Exercise in a Box is an excellent starting point. This exercise will help you to check out how well you and your business can respond to a cyber-attack. Contact us now and we can arrange for a local Police Cyber Protect Officer to go through this with you free of charge. You could then speak to us about completing a Cyber Business Continuity Review with one of our students – that will look at your currents plans and provide feedback on their suitability.
So, what should I do now?
Here at the centre, we would advise you to do three things no
Join our free community membership and you will be supported through implementing the changes you need to make to protect your business and your customers.
For all organisations in the Eastern region we would recommend that you look at improving you overall cyber resilience through the free Little Steps pathway we provide to Cyber Essentials – the basic government backed kite mark standard for cyber security. As a free member we will take you as far as the CE accreditation process. And remember that a company operating under Cyber Essentials processes is 99% protected either fully or partially from today’s common cyber-attacks. And if you want to pay for the assessment, we can refer you one of our Cyber Essentials Partners – all regionally based cyber security companies that can help you become accredited.
We would also recommend that you speak to your Managed Service Provider and / or website company to discuss how they can implement cyber resilience measures on your behalf.
Reporting Cyber Crime
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).