Increased Theft Of Health Data Predicted For 2015
Hospitals are under attack in 2014, and it’s just going to get worse, according to predictions.
Community Health Systems announced in August that hackers had stolen data from their network. The total data stolen from the hack was for a reported 4.5 million patients. Community Health Systems operates approximately 206 hospitals nationwide.
Included in the data that was stolen is patient names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and even birth dates.
This is just one of a few health related hacks reported in 2014. According to researchers, 2015 will bring an increase in health care data theft, making it more common.
Carl Leonard, principal security analyst at Websense, says that hackers are infiltrating computer networks of health care facilities at an increased rate. Leonard says that the information stored in these networks are secured improperly, which is why it is easy for hackers to steal.
Websense has reported that they observed a 600% increase in cyber attacks on hospitals over a 10 month period. More and more hackers are accessing this data because of being a “soft-target.” While credit card data is still valuable, it is becoming less valuable without actual identification information to support it. This is why health data is so valuable to hackers now. It includes financial data to go along with personal information.
This information is worth hundreds of dollars on the black market. Customers who purchase this information use it to impersonate an individual for the purpose of accessing financial information, or even to access prescriptions.
More medical facilities are switching to digital electronic medical records, or “EMRs”. While making the transition, Leonard emphasizes that security is simply not a priority for these facilities, which leaves them open to attack. Leonard also believes that vulnerabilities will increase as health care facilities introduce smart devices to their networks.
Some may even argue that accessing health data could lead to manipulation of patient prescriptions in order to alter them and cause a fatal outcome. Either way, health data hacking is on the rise, and 2015 may just be the year of the hospital hack.