Securing Internet Connected Devices in Healthcare - NCSAM 2020 Week 3

Posted by Michael Krutikov
October 20, 2020

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Securing Internet Connected Devices in Healthcare


Welcome to the third week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020! 

Each week we will be highlighting one of the four themes for this year's NCSAM! 

The world of the Internet of Things is expanding more than ever and one of the sectors that is evolving tremendously from it is healthcare. The whole industry relies on smart devices to improve efficiency and offer better care for all patients. But this innovative way of working also brings great risk associated with processing huge amounts of our most sensitive information. In the third week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we look into the healthcare industry and vulnerabilities of internet-connected devices used within this sector.

Benefits and dangers of your mobile healthcare

The healthcare industry has changed significantly over the last ten years. It has become incredibly mobile and accessible. More and more patients all over the world are now using telemedicine, which has especially increased during the pandemic. We have access to medical care in our hands, can contact a doctor without leaving home, get diagnosed for common and less serious ailments then get our prescriptions ordered up to our pharmacy.

Among the added benefits of these new internet-connected technologies is that we have become more conscious of our health and fitness. We use smart devices and apps to track our blood pressure, to remind ourselves to take medicines and to stay fit. But whether doctor-prescribed or devices we chose to use, what we often forget about is that they process an enormous amount of very private, personal and potentially compromising data. It’s not only our doctor who sees this data, it is also seen and managed by big IT and tech companies and by third parties in the healthcare supply chain.

How do I stay secure?

The more entities have access to your sensitive data, the easier it is to hack it. Cybercriminals are not wasting their time – new studies show that almost 95% of all healthcare-related organizations have experienced a data breach over the past three years. How do you make sure your data is safe when using internet-connected devices in healthcare?

Here are 5 tips that will help you stay secure:

  1. When subscribing to a healthcare-related website or when downloading a health-related app always make sure it is a legitimate one. Check the reviews and make sure it is widely used and trusted and is sourced by a reputable company and country. Look out for copy-cat apps that mimic the names and look like their more reputable originals - these apps could not only risk your health-related data but your devices and entire network of data as well.
  2. When creating an account where your sensitive data will be stored, make sure to set up a long and unique password, to minimize the risk of the account being compromised. Never disclose this password to anyone and don’t use it for any other website or account.
  3. Always check privacy settings and verify whether the apps or devices you are using are not asking for too much of your sensitive data or data that isn’t relevant to the app itself.
  4. Don’t unnecessarily publish information about your health on social media. Know that whatever you make public is bound to be discovered by cybercriminals that know how to use that data.
  5. Make sure you know where your healthcare-related devices come from. Don’t buy them from unknown suppliers or manufacturers. It’s usually the biggest and most trusted companies that offer the most reliable service. When setting up a new device, always change its default password.

Dealing with the security of internet-connected devices is always a challenge but in healthcare, the stakes are far higher. It is therefore more important than ever to protect your highly sensitive data and only give access to organizations you trust and need. Be vigilant and always think of consequences when you disclose information about yourself. This NCSAM, Do your part. #BeCyberSmart.

Check out our week one NCSAM blog If You Connect It, Protect It.

Check out our week two NCSAM blog Securing Devices at Home and Work.




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