Ransomware is a kind of harmful software that restricts the access to certain places and/or files of an infected system and asks for a ransom in exchange of removing that restriction or encryption. As outrageous as it sounds, it is not a new thing; ransomware has been around for almost three decades now. With the growth of technology in connectivity, cyber criminals have yet another way to extort consumers and even companies.
Healthcare equipment is one of the main targets for this type malice-intended software to get into hospital’s network. Here are a few recommendations that will help prevent breaches of dangerous ransomware into the grid of medical equipment management.
1- Stricter Guest Wi-Fi Access Policy in Hospitals
The need to enable wireless access to patient’s data (EHR) and increased number of WiFi enabled medical devices in hospitals has created a strong need for hospitals to isolate the guest WiFi access from the main wireless network. Poor management of WiFi access in hospitals can lead to loopholes for ransomware attacks and costly HIPAA violations. Hospitals also need to have stringent policy with regards to personal devices of employees. Hospital personnel that needs access to patient data should be allowed to use only authorized devices to get access to the required information.
2- Use Software that Offers Artificial Intelligence Capabilities
Use of Artificial intelligence based cyber security solutions will allow for enabling cognitive systems that can learn the normal behavior of network, devices and intrusion prevention systems and trigger certain security measures when there is an anomaly detected. Although cyber criminals are getting ready for this type of adaptive cyber security apparatus but it will be very difficult for them to beat enterprise scale AI based protection.
3- Password-protect Everything
There is only so much a hacker can do when stumbling across a system that is restricted by password protection. The stronger the password is, the more difficulty hackers will find to go through. It is advisable to make the encryption of passwords at a highest level possible. Hashing usually provides the best way to encrypt passwords, as opposed to symmetric and asymmetric techniques that present some weaknesses known by the hackers, which is why the latter is the most popular technique used by them to create ransomware attacks.
Keeping all systems up to date with the latest security patches and updates will help protect the data from malicious attacks. This should be reinforced with the inclusion of firewalls and antivirus that have the latest firmware and updated virus signatures. Although this by itself would appear to be enough to deal with the problem, the reality is that there is always a new kind of threat lurking, so this means that there should be an understanding of the behavior of these threats, namely, users should have constant education that will help them identify or at least be able to detect a pattern of potential malign software.
5- Use Certified Software, Services and/or Equipment
Vendors that supply equipment and applications, and providers of hosting data services, should be up to date with security patches and updates. That is why it is very important to acquire products and services that will guarantee the safety of private data or equipment. Services and products providers will be more trustworthy if they keep a continuous maintenance on the prevention of attacks and threats. Even though nothing is completely for sure, when it comes to data hosting services, the cloud has a great security system; something to be considered.
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6- Always Backup
It is a basic rule in the manual. Every good programmer, IT tech, or network administrator knows that backing up data is the most important thing to ensure that in the event of an attempt of kidnapping data, the important files will be safe. Should the evil-doers’ attempts to penetrate the security barriers were made successfully, would make it a futile achievement.
7- Be Alert!
Best way to achieve a successful protection is to always evaluate potential gaps. Constant tracking of network traffic activity, scanning probable weaknesses, and keeping a real-time monitoring are essential tasks, especially on systems that run on Microsoft Windows.
Practicing these steps thoroughly is an almost-certain way to keep data, healthcare equipment and wallets safe.