Cybersecurity risks healthcare providers should look out for

Tuesday, Aug 17, 2021 06:52

With the use of technologies and apps to fight and prevent COVID-19 increasing, healthcare providers need to improve cybersecurity to protect their systems against most advanced cyberthreats. — Photo courtesy of Kaspersky

Many technologies and technology applications have been used by authorities, businesses and residents in their efforts to prevent and control COVID-19, but experts have warned of cybersecurity risks that may come hand in hand with these technologies and apps.

Last month the Government activated an information technology platform to support vaccination with an electronic health book app, a COVID-19 vaccination portal, a database system, and a response centre to

Mobile network providers have installed more than 6,000 surveillance cameras in locked-down areas to help authorities easily monitor suspected cases.

The Ministry of Information and Communications has set up the national Technology Centre for COVID-19 Prevention and Control with key members available 24/7 to handle all situations related to technology solutions and traceability and ensure network security.

Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at cybersecurity company Kaspersky, said: “The pandemic has showed the important role of e-government and digital transformation in the health sector in particular. Digitalisation in healthcare is being implemented extensively in Viet Nam and it is a welcome approach to help the nation and its people in this difficult time.

“It is clear that the government is aware that these technologies and applications may attract the attention of cybercriminals because these actors are always after … data. Being aware of this threat is the first step in [taking] appropriate measures and [creating] legal frameworks to manage the country’s data defence mechanisms.”

According to Kaspersky statistics, in the second quarter, more than 26 million cyberthreats from the internet and 40.4 million local incidents on users' computers were detected.

Some 26.6 per cent of users were targeted by web threats, putting Viet Nam in 33rd place world-wide, while it ranked 34th with 36.1 per cent of users targeted by local threats.

At the end of 2020, a medical company had a serious data leak affecting more than 80,000 people. It provides software for many medical facilities and its database contains more than 12 million records. The incident underlined the need for greater security for healthcare providers.

According to experts, healthcare providers are among the institutions in which people place the most trust and have critical infrastructure in that they are vital to the well-being and safety of the public.

While hospital trusts, medical institutes and research labs handle unique and valuable assets, important new workflows have evolved in this sector, bringing new security challenges.

Systems are now interconnected and mobile devices are extensively used both for remote access and data sharing. This digitisation increasingly exposes healthcare organisations to both generic and targeted attacks, they said.

Experts from Kaspersky also said healthcare providers should hire skilled IT security teams, implement ongoing cybersecurity training for employees at all levels and establish a clear, company-wide cybersecurity policy and proactively communicate it to employees on a regular basis to increase awareness to minimise future threats. — VNS

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