By RON FRECHETTE
As we reflect on 2017, it will most likely be remembered in the Digital Age archives as the year that phishing, and ransomware attacks pulverized small healthcare businesses. Sadly enough, it's only just beginning. Large healthcare companies have had their share as well - Indiana Medicaid, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, Airway Oxygen and several others. But most of the cyber-criminal activity in 2017 was focused on smaller targets.
Why the shift toward the small guys and how can we reverse this trend to reduce the risk of our practices and patients becoming victims?
Why the Shift?
Why #1 - The Online Human Attack Surface will Reach 6 billion people by 2022 - Currently it's 3.8 billion
Why #2 - Larger Healthcare Companies are Tightening Up Security Controls - Harder to Penetrate
Why #3 - Small Healthcare Businesses are Easy Targets for Cybercriminals due to poor security hygiene
The world has launched into the Digital Age so fast that many healthcare professionals are just waking up to it now. Cybersecurity is a buzzword we hear in the mainstream media on an almost daily basis. Larger enterprise companies have been dealing with malicious hacking issues since the beginning of the internet. Over time, they have increased their cyber security defenses, making it harder for cybercriminals to penetrate. As a result, cybercriminals have shifted their focus to those less educated and equipped to protect against cyber-attacks. Small-midsize healthcare business owners are especially vulnerable targets due the value of Protected Health Information (PHI) on the Dark Web. In 2016, over 50 percent of cyber-attacks were against small businesses, the majority in healthcare.
The cybersecurity community and major media outlets predict that cybercrimes will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2016. It's like the California Gold Rush for cyber thugs. The time for us to act is now.
Noteworthy quotes about the state of cybercrime:
- Ginni Rometty, IBM's chairman, president and CEO, said, "Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world."
- Billionaire businessman Warren Buffet takes it a step further and says, "cyber-attacks are the number one problem with mankind, even worse than nuclear weapons.
- Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations--the No. 1 Cyber-Attacked Industry--will Quadruple by 2020.
Reversing the Trend
It starts with us as individuals. We need to get educated, diligently practice good cybersecurity hygiene and embed these behaviors into our daily lives. Like brushing our teeth. Of course, there is always the option of reverting to the old days of relying on the telephone and U.S. Postal Service. Unfortunately, the postal system and telecom companies rely too much on today's Digital Age technology like the rest of the world. There is no going back.
Our plan for 2018 is to get more granular with our Orlando Medical News readers and provide a more detailed view of things they can implement into their daily lives to keep them and their patient records safe in cyber. If you have a cybersecurity topic you want to learn more about, please let us know. Send me a tweet @GoldSkyRon.
Ron Frechette, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of GoldSky Security is a cybersecurity and healthcare entrepreneur who over the last several years dedicated his career to helping enterprise companies reduce the risks of cyber-attacks. Ron left the enterprise security world in 2015 and co-founded GoldSky Security, LLC. Ron's vision is to build cybersecurity firms across the US that exist to help small-midsize businesses implement affordable cybersecurity solutions. Ron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org