Robert Hudock Discusses Health Care Providers’ Vulnerability to Data Breaches in 2017

MCOL ThoughtLeaders

Robert J. Hudock, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was featured in MCOL ThoughtLeaders and discussed the question: “Comparing protective measure taken versus the current state of aggression by hackers, are healthcare providers and plans generally more or less vulnerable to data breaches in 2017 versus the recent past?”

Following is an excerpt:

Overall, we believe organizations may be less vulnerable to attacks because of better patching and security awareness. However, incentives are such that we expect to see more frequent and more severe data breaches in 2017.

Healthcare providers and plans have spent significant resources in deploying new security tools in 2016. At the same time, market incentives continue to encourage hackers to create better methods to gain access to sensitive information systems. Compared to only a few years ago, ransomware has emerged as a key risk, where hackers are able to easily profit from the malicious encryption of patient records. We have also seen a major uptick in identity theft rings who now regularly seek out healthcare providers to obtain patient records.

Moreover, the evolution of social media, including LinkedIn and Facebook (as well as other open source research resources), greatly assists hackers in researching an organization and then carrying out more effective phishing attacks. Instabilities around the world have also resulted in more individuals being drawn into a life of crime as a hacker, partly because of the absence of profitable alternatives. Being a black hat hacker is now a viable career choice in the Ukraine, Russia, and China (to name only a few).