Protecting Healthcare Networks from Ransomware Threats

23 May 2023 by Bare Metal

In 2022, it was estimated that the healthcare industry had to deal with an outrageous amount of cyberattacks—a staggering 1.463 per week. This number skyrocketed by 74% in comparison to 2021, making cybercrime a serious and pressing threat.  

2022 was a bad year for many US healthcare organizations-- as 24 of them became the target of successful ransomware attacks. In total, 289 hospitals were affected by these digital assaults which crippled their ability to provide medical support and treatments.  

This caused a very real danger to patients around the United States that were living with severe conditions or in desperate need of lifesaving treatments. It brought massive disruption to the entire nation's healthcare industry and sent administrators scrambling to come up with solutions.  

At the forefront were specialists making every effort to not just regain access to their data, but also protect themselves from any future attempts at infiltration. The staggering results affecting numerous facilities let to a major outbreak of serious concern over cyber-security threats in this sector. 

The threat of ransomware attacks against healthcare organizations is becoming increasingly more pressing. Ransomware traditionally targets weak security systems and outdated hardware to gain access and encrypt networks. Though malicious actors behind these schemes continue to evolve their methods, there are various strategies that healthcare organizations can implement to protect their infrastructure from potential cyber intrusions.  

In this blog post, we'll discuss a few key tips on how to safeguard your organization’s data and operations against ransomware threats. 

High Profile Targets

Ransomware is a malicious software that takes hold of a computer system and encrypts all the data, essentially locking the user out of their own data. The attackers, or hackers, then demand the user to pay a ransom in exchange for the decryption key that would unlock the data.  

Ransomware can spread through a variety of means, including phishing emails, malicious attachments, or watering hole attacks. It has become a growing threat to individuals and businesses alike, with the potential to cause significant financial loss and disrupt normal operations. 

Hospitals are high value targets for cybercriminals due to their wealth of data, netrich critical information, and limited security. Furthermore, disruptions caused by cybersecurity breaches can bring entire operations to a grinding halt, demanding millions in recovery costs.  

These large networks also create an environment of vast interconnected devices, carrying unparalleled vulnerabilities. Sometimes hospitals do not protect themselves from threats, even though it might be costly. This is because people make mistakes and there are many choices that can cause confusion. We're here to clear up that confusion for organizations. 

Tips for Preventing Ransomware Attacks 

It is of utmost importance for healthcare organizations to have comprehensive ransomware prevention plans in place, considering the sensitive and confidential nature of patient data. Healthcare organizations are among the most targeted industries when it comes to ransomware attacks, due to the value of medical information on the black market.  

If compromised, ransomware attacks can prevent healthcare providers from accessing critical patient data, which can disrupt regular operations, affect patient care and potentially put lives at risk. Such organizations must ensure their prevention plans include regular system backups, staff training, and the latest security software.  

A sound ransomware prevention plan is essential to mitigate the impact of a cyber attack and maintain continuity of care for patients, which is the highest priority for healthcare organizations. 

Improve Endpoint Security 

Having robust endpoint security plans in place can greatly help healthcare organizations prevent ransomware attacks. Endpoint security represents the measures taken to secure endpoints (such as servers, workstations, and mobile devices) from data breaches and unauthorized access.  

A strong endpoint security plan includes tools such as firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, and regular security updates. By implementing these measures, healthcare organizations can minimize the vulnerabilities in their systems that attackers might exploit to execute a ransomware attack.  

Furthermore, effective endpoint security plans should include measures to enforce strong password policies and provide regular awareness training to their staff. By adopting best practices in endpoint security, healthcare organizations can reduce the risk of ransomware attacks and protect patient data, ensuring that patients receive critical care and that confidential information remains secure. 

Secure Email Communications

Securing email communications is crucial for healthcare organizations to prevent ransomware attacks. Email is the most common way attackers try to get into your computer. It is important to make sure emails are safe and not from people trying to trick you. 

One way to protect yourself online is by using email gateways. They are like guards that watch for bad emails with dangerous files or links. They will stop those emails from getting through. Furthermore, healthcare organizations should enforce stricter email filtering protocols, and limit incoming email traffic from suspicious sources. Additionally, staff should be trained on how to recognize and avoid phishing emails to minimize the risk of ransomware attacks.  

Healthcare organizations can protect patients' data and keep providing care if they take certain steps. These steps can help stop ransomware attacks from succeeding. 

Segment Networks

Segmenting networks can be an effective way for healthcare organizations to prevent being victims of encrypting ransomware. When IT networks are segmented, it creates multiple smaller and more secured networks that are difficult for attackers to penetrate.  

By limiting the number of systems accessed through a single entry point, ransomware attacks can be isolated, preventing it from spreading easily throughout the entire network. Breaking up networks into parts can help protect against a ransomware attack. It will limit the damage to only certain sections and make it quicker to get essential systems back online. 

Healthcare organizations can ensure continuity in their operations and secure confidential patient data by implementing network segmentation protocols as part of their ransomware prevention plan. 

Safeguard Your Data with Bare Metal IaaS

Bare metal infrastructure as a service solutions can be an excellent option for healthcare companies looking to implement strategies for avoiding ransomware attacks. Bare metal solutions involve using physical servers that are installed without any pre-existing software or operating systems.  

This means that any software, including the operating system, is installed from scratch, minimizing the risk of pre-installed vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. By creating a clean slate environment for setting up their IT infrastructure, healthcare organizations can minimize the risk of ransomware attacks.  

Bare metal servers make it easier for healthcare companies to back up their data securely. They can create a physical backup system that is not vulnerable to attacks. Bare metal solutions can be very helpful for healthcare companies. It helps to protect their computers and technology from being attacked. This will save them money because they won't have to pay for ransomware attacks. 

Connect with technology experts today for a no cost conversation about how your organization can leverage the IaaS model to make your network more secure.  

Author Bare Metal provides consulting and engineering support around bare metal and has developed a platform for bare metal solutions from the leading data center bare metal providers. In just 2-3 minutes you can create and submit a customized bare metal RFP that will automatically engage you and your business with the industry leading bare metal providers in the world.


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