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Hackers Target Healthcare Industry Because Of Low Security Guarding Valuable Information

Hackers Target Healthcare Industry Because Of Low Security Guarding Valuable Information

by Clay Michael GillespieFebruary 11, 2015

It’s been said over and over: 2014 and 2015 have been the years of major hacks. Customer information and identity is being swept up in almost every industry. Now, hackers are turning an eye to the healthcare industry because of two reasons: low security and highly valuable information.

It’s a cocktail that’s incredibly dangerous if exposed under the right circumstances, and it seems the healthcare industry has an open door for hackers.

Anthem Inc., the second largest health insurer in the United States, is a treasure trove for interested hacking parties. Unfortunately for them and their customers, Anthem was recently a victim of a breach where hackers made off with a slew of personal customer information.

Also Read: Major Breach at Health Insurer Anthem: 80 Million Records Compromised

Anthem Was Major Healthcare Hack

Healthcare AnthemAccording to a statement from the president and CEO of Anthem, Joseph R. Swedish, the hackers didn’t get away with credit card or medical information, but they got away with highly sensitive information.

These attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and have obtained personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised.

Besides the ridiculous mistake of keeping highly sensitive customer information on a centralized server – which should be a thing of the past in 2015 – Websense sources say low security is one of the major reasons for Anthem and other healthcare companies hacking.

“Year-over-year, the number of malicious web-based attacks increased by nearly 600 percent,” said Charles Renert, vice president of the Websense Security Labs.

The biggest issue is that these healthcare companies need to realize that the highly sensitive information they’re holding isn’t safe for very long. Hackers are creating more sophisticated viruses every single day, meaning that companies are responsible for taking the proper precautions once the technology evolves.

These attacks were staged predominantly on legitimate sites and challenge traditional approaches to security and trust. The timed, targeted nature of these advanced threats indicates a new breed of sophisticated attacker who is intent on compromising increasingly higher-yield targets. Only proactive, real-time security techniques, that inspect the entire lifecycle of a threat, can withstand the assault and prevent data theft.

It’s a matter of being proactive rather than reactive – something the world has seen all too often in these hacking incidents. Investing in serious measures is a necessary venture that healthcare companies need to take.

Not tomorrow, not next week – now.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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