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How DSPM Can Help Solve Healthcare Cybersecurity Attacks

How DSPM Can Help Solve Healthcare Cybersecurity Attacks

Blog Article Published: 04/30/2024

Originally published by Cyera.


Healthcare organizations face rising cybersecurity threats looking to exfiltrate patient data. This article explores major healthcare data breaches, the value of stolen medical info, and how data security posture management (DSPM) solutions provide comprehensive data mapping, classification, monitoring, and access controls to secure sensitive health data.

The healthcare industry holds a vast amount of personal and sensitive information, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals. Medical records contain a wealth of personal details, including full names, birthdates, addresses, social security numbers, and intimate health details. This information can be leveraged for identity theft, fraud, or sold on cybercrime forums and markets for significant profits. Full medical history databases can fetch well over $1,000 per database.

An example of healthcare data being sold on cybercrime forums

In recent years, healthcare organizations have experienced several high-profile cyber attacks that have highlighted severe implications. One such incident occurred in 2020 when Germany's Düsseldorf University Clinic fell victim to a ransomware attack. The attack encrypted important systems, forcing the hospital to turn away emergency patients and delay treatments. Tragically, a patient in need of urgent care died after being rerouted to a more distant hospital due to the localized attack.

Another notable cyber attack targeted Progress Software's file transfer software, MOVEit, which was used by various healthcare organizations. Threat actors exploited multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to internal systems and exfiltrate sensitive patient health information. These breaches not only resulted in widespread data compromises but also exposed vulnerabilities in healthcare supply chains, leading to financial, legal, and reputational consequences for impacted healthcare providers.


The Role of DSPM in Healthcare Cybersecurity

To counter the growing threat of cyber attacks, healthcare organizations should establish a strong cybersecurity posture. Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) solutions play a crucial role in achieving this objective. DSPM provides comprehensive data mapping, classification, monitoring, and access controls to secure sensitive health data.


Comprehensive Data Mapping

One of the key features of DSPM is its ability to deliver complete visibility across the entire healthcare IT environment. By thoroughly mapping all data stores, including previously unknown or orphaned databases containing patient information, DSPM provides healthcare organizations with a detailed data topology of their digital estate. This comprehensive data mapping helps identify potential vulnerabilities and ensures that all sensitive data is accounted for and adequately protected.


Advanced Data Classification

With its full visibility of the healthcare IT environment, DSPM can then leverage intelligent algorithms to automatically classify different types of data based on their sensitivity levels. This enables healthcare providers to implement adaptive access controls, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access highly sensitive health information. For example, DSPM can restrict access to extremely sensitive health history files to select senior clinicians, limiting the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.


Continuous Security Monitoring

DSPM also facilitates continuous monitoring of access patterns, user behaviors, and other activities across the healthcare data landscape. It actively flags any anomalous activity in real-time, such as unauthorized manipulation of test results or suspicious downloading of insurance records. This proactive monitoring allows incident response teams to quickly identify and mitigate emerging incidents before they escalate into full-blown cyber attacks.


HIPAA Compliance with DSPM

In addition to protecting patient data and mitigating cyber threats, DSPM also assists healthcare organizations in adhering to legal data protection mandates, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While HIPAA regulations establish fundamental standards for managing patient medical records, integrating DSPM into healthcare systems goes beyond these requirements, adding extra protection.

One key aspect of HIPAA compliance that DSPM supports is the principle of least privilege access. DSPM ensures that employees are granted only the minimal data permissions necessary for their roles, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and limiting the potential impact of data breaches.

DSPM continuously monitors systems, enabling threat detection and mitigation to prevent breaches before they occur. This proactive approach contrasts with the reactive nature of HIPAA, which relies more on post-breach analysis and resolution.

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