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Healthcare sector increasingly subject to cyberattacks

The healthcare sector has increasingly become one of the largest targets of cybercrime and cyberattacks.

The healthcare sector has become a prime target for cybercrime due to its handling and storage of sensitive and confidential information and outdated systems. During 2020, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received 166 health sector-related cybersecurity incident reports, raising alarm bells and awareness training for healthcare executives. Breaches of healthcare security have a trickledown effect, costing the industry tens of millions of dollars. The ACSC views Australia’s healthcare system as following the same path as the US and as such introduced cyber incident reporting measures to identify and isolate compromised systems and security. This is designed to be a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach to prevent lengthy and costly investigations.

Most notably, major healthcare providers need to recognise their outdated and vulnerable systems. Healthcare providers should follow these cybersecurity regulations and advance their internal processes to mitigate cybercrime. This may be as simple as appropriately handling data leaks or implementing an incident response process to contain breaches. Moreover, personnel must be educated in online security measures, particularly with regard to viruses, malware, phishing scams, pop-ups, and internet browsing.

With cybercrime on the rise in the healthcare sector, it will only be a matter of time before other major industries face the same risks. Providers and industries should follow ACSC guidance and invigorate their internal systems to prepare for future cyberattacks

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