Critical Read

Health info is a giant target for hackers

health data

What: "Hacking Healthcare IT in 2016," a report from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology

Why: ICIT's study seeks to apply lessons from the Office of Personnel Management breach to the health care sector. Like OPM, Anthem and Premera Blue Cross were hacked in 2015 via a third-party vendor connected to internal systems, the report states. Researchers also point a finger at a possible source for both intrusions: Deep Panda.

The report advises the health care sector to carefully vet third-party service providers and limit their access to critical systems.

As the industry continues to expand into telemedicine and medical devices connected to the Internet of Things, providers must use layered cybersecurity approaches to protect their vulnerable -- and valuable -- digital assets, the report states.

Verbatim: "The health care sector must invest in more robust and comprehensive organizational platforms because the value of data contained in their systems, combined with the lax security surrounding that data, is increasingly more appealing to nation-state actors, cyber criminals and hacktivists alike. Using only phishing attacks and exploit kits available on the dark net, even a 'script kiddie' might be able to compromise the system of a major health care provider.… The health care sector is the most targeted yet underprepared genre within our nation's critical infrastructures."

Read the full report here.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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