Security Technology Executive

FEB-MAR 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 61

www. • Februar y/March 2018 • SECURIT Y TECHNOLOGY E XECUTIVE 21 Modern healthcare organizations require regula- tory teams, including security, to serve as financially responsible patient care-focused business partners with the ability to contribute value across all service lines. A successful healthcare security executive is now leading within the organization as a communicator, collaborator and practitioner-driven by a unified approach to identifying, prioritizing and managing a complex risk portfolio through shared risk handling responsibility. In meeting this responsibility, health- care security executives must identify and understand current and emerging threats in order to promote meaningful partnerships on behalf of effective miti- gation strategies. Where Emerging Threats Originate When planning and considering newly emerging threats it shouldn't be a surprise to any healthcare security executive that many, if not all, find their roots in technology and/or human behavior. These sources of threats fueled by advancements in technology, the internet, and social media continuously adapt over time to outwit and/or exploit previously successful mitigation strategies at rates once thought unthink- able. Just take a moment to think how many times your team has worked tirelessly to develop a threat mitigation strategy only to learn it requires the reca- libration of a process or resources to meet evolving vulnerabilities within the same planning cycle. The emerging threats briefly discussed below, many of which are simply iterations of past threats will require our teams to once again adapt on behalf of prevention, preparedness and protection. Top Threats: Cybersecurity Let's begin with cybersecurity. Due to the sensitive nature of healthcare information, the cyber threat will always be a prioritized concern for all healthcare security executives. Our security teams have seen the cyber threat landscape progress from simple scripts and viruses, intent on disruption to malware and spyware utilized to commit cybercrime, and finally to the ransomware and bots used to facilitate cyber- espionage and widespread harm. The malign actors of cyberspace have also evolved, as they moved from script-kiddies to coordinated and sophisticated attacks and finally to nation-states car- rying out corporate espionage and/or politically moti- vated attacks. The increased sophistication and veloc- ity of this continuous evolution where nation-states have moved to the forefront is supported in a recent assessment performed by the National Intelligence Agency noting the number of nations with cyberat- tack capabilities has more than doubled in the last five years (1). While the participants and competency levels may change, the emerging cyber-related threats themselves don't really change all that much and typi- cally remain connected to the theft or destruction of healthcare information, creating a disruption to sci- entific discovery or the continuum of care. We are also seeing healthcare organizations become increasingly connected, internally and externally, the attack surface increases providing increased opportunity and reward to criminals. Ran- somware attacks and medical identity theft continue to trend upward despite the financial commitments made by healthcare organizations to better protect data and limit data breaches. According to a 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report conducted by Veri- zon, 72 percent of all healthcare malware attacks in 2016 were caused by ransomware. In addition to these traditional cyber battlefields, there remains growing concern by healthcare security professionals on how to identify and remediate the security concerns surrounding medical equipment and devices. While we are certainly not experiencing the challenges seen on television (how many times have you heard that in security) where bad actors are controlling devices for ransom, there is a reason to be concerned as more and more devices today rely on software that can be potentially exploited by Raymond J. Gerwitz currently serves as the Director, Risk Strateg y and Operational Excellence for the University of Texas Police at Houston at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Texas Health Science Center. When planning and considering newly emerging threats it shouldn't be a surprise to any healthcare security executive that many, if not all, find their roots in technology and/or human behavior. cybercriminals. The potential damaging effects of these cyber operations when directed at healthcare organiza- tions may produce significant harm and disruption in the patient care continuum during both routine and critical periods of care. The financial investments made to prevent data loss and the protection of intellectual property seems to only delay future loss, while those who are intent on harm adapt their malicious efforts. If you would like to learn more about this risk exposure I suggest you review the recommendations for the manage- ment of this risk throughout the total medical device product lifecycle published by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2).

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Security Technology Executive - FEB-MAR 2018