Shark tank? It's a cyberattack

Hacked through a fish tank? It happened: In 2017, in what sounds like a plot out of a Matrix or Oceans 11 movie, cybercriminals hacked into a casino network through their fish tank, making off with valuable data and personal information.

How did this happen?

Elementary, my dear Watson: The fish tank has attached sensors that monitor temperature, cleanliness and food levels. The hackers accessed those sensors to tunnel into the casino network, stealing 10GB of data, and had it transferred to a remote server in Finland. This data contained valuable personal and financial information.

A fish tank connects to medical devices?

Yes: Back when slot machines ran on coins, hackers were insignificant threats to casinos; it was difficult to hack into a physical slot machine to cart away heavy prizes. But that changed when the casino gaming industry entered the digital transformation process. All of the sudden, connecting physical gaming assets online made hacking much more attractive to cybercriminals, and the potential threat of an intruder on a trusted network became an existential threat that casinos couldn’t ignore.

Cybersecurity transformed healthcare

As cybersecurity continued to evolve, the digital transformation wave was sweeping through all industries, including healthcare. Just like slot machines, medical devices that previously had no connectivity beyond a hospital bed were now inside people’s homes, even sometimes being directly used as medical wearables, going with them wherever they went, tracking and storing valuable biometric and health data.

Explosive growth, unexpected challenges

The explosion of Telehealth and the IoMT has created phenomenal new ways to provide a better healthcare experience that wasn’t even possible 20 years ago. But it’s not all wine and roses, as transformation also has created challenges that must be addressed. If you are not paying attention to your cybersecurity in 2020, hackers will bring unprecedented challenges to your business.

2020 Cybersecurity Statistics

The New Normal: Virtual healthcare in a post-pandemic world

Thanks to connected devices and global pandemic guidelines encouraging us all to stay in our homes, we’re experiencing a unique inflection point of transformative change. Inconveniences are being removed. As we continue to evolve, healthcare will become increasingly accessible and convenient with lower costs for providers and will be enabled by networked and connected devices, software, and platforms.

Unfortunately, with explosive growth and opportunity comes an increase in severe security breaches in remote care. If a network is compromised, clinical outcomes can be negatively impacted, the operational capabilities disrupted, and the potential financial and regulatory repercussions could be catastrophic.

Healthcare medical records are valuable

Medical records are becoming the new bitcoin for hackers because medical records contain far more than just basic information that can be replaced (think of having to get a new credit card). Medical records include family info, birthdays, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and other financial information, all data points that are costly or even impossible to replace. For cybercriminals: This is the holy grail as they can use this for fraudulent purposes to obtain prescription drugs or retirement benefits.

To succeed, you must be “cyber secure”

As a result of constant threats and industry challenges, having effective cybersecurity management should be a mandatory practice for all professionals.

Stakeholders must re-imagine how they manage cyber risk and implement effective cybersecurity measures within their respective areas. Protecting software security should now be the top priority for all connected device makers and Telehealth providers. Software applications are becoming an increasingly significant part of the attack surface, and unprotected software applications can leave a trail of breadcrumbs that can be reverse engineered to disrupt a platform that delivers vital care.

As the world of healthcare continues to evolve, who knows what the next “fish tank” entry point for hackers will be? That’s why you must make sure that every device and software you use is secure.

Want to learn more about Virtual Healthcare? Come join my talk @ the Virtual MedTech Conference 2020.

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