In April 2022, Omnicell reported a data breach affecting nearly 62,000 patients. The company has revealed that the incident has impacted an additional 64,000 individuals. This brings the total number of patients affected to over 126,000.
Will you be the next victim like Omnicell? If you are overlooking the importance of data protection, attackers can get you in no time.
Explore the impact of the data breach on the healthcare sector and what preventive measures can be taken against such attacks.
Omnicell Announced Data Breach
Founded in 1992, Omnicell is a leading provider of medication management solutions for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and retail pharmacies. On May 4, 2022, Omnicell’s IT systems and third-party cloud services were affected by ransomware attacks which may lead to data security concerns for employees and patients. While it is still early in the investigation, this appears to be a severe breach with potentially significant consequences for the company.
Omnicell began informing individuals whose information may have been compromised on August 3, 2022. Hackers may be able to access and sell patient-sensitive information, such as social security numbers, due to the time delay between the breach and the company’s report of affected patients.
The type of information that may be exposed are
- Credit card information
- Financial information
- Social security numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Health insurance details
Healthcare Industry is the Prime Target of Cyberattacks
The Omnicell Data Breach was not the only cyber-attack targeting healthcare institutions. Even Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) was hit by ransomware, where 40,000 people’s medical records were taken.
The healthcare industry is one of the most targeted sectors globally, with attacks doubling year over year. And these costs are measured in millions or even billions of dollars – not to mention increased risks for patients’ privacy (and reputation).
According to FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center last year, the public health industry is the most attacked sector by ransomware attacks. The cost of recovering from a ransomware attack can be as much as $1.85 million, the second highest across all industries.
This is due to the sensitive nature of the data that healthcare organizations collect and store. Healthcare professionals need data for proper care, so two-factor authentication and zero-trust defense tactics aren’t always feasible. Attackers are attracted to this data because it is highly valuable. As a result, healthcare organizations must be extra cautious in their efforts to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.
In addition to traditional cybersecurity measures, healthcare organizations should consider investing in a next-generation security solution like AppTranato prevent attacks before it happens.
What’s Next? How Can You Protect your Institutions from Data Breaches?
Here are a few strategies that could have prevented the Omnicell data breach and protected the patient’s private data:
Filter Incoming Emails: Most ransomware attacks depend on feeding the malware variant through malicious traffic distribution. One way to prevent these incidents is by investing in a Web Application Firewall. It proactively blocks new threats and ensures defenses in real-time.
Ensure your software is Up-to-date: It is important to establish regular assessments of your critical applications and servers to confirm that you are running on the latest software.
Evaluate your Security Systems: It is important to comprehensively scan the endpoint security systems to find and fix the vulnerabilities which could open doors for attackers.
Establish Regular Backups of Important Data: The best way to mitigate ransomware attacks is to be prepared. This means you should frequently back up your data and make copies of the same both on the cloud and on an offsite location.
Enforce Zero Trust Policy: The need for a “Zero Trust” policy is increasingly important as technology advances. With so many new devices, people, and partners accessing your network or data, it’s crucial that you establish trust policies before letting them in.
Encryption: The best way to protect healthcare data is to encrypt it. Encryption ensures that even if data is stolen, it will be unusable to anyone without the proper key. Healthcare organizations must prioritize encryption to safeguard patient information and maintain compliance with industry regulations.
It can be a tough time to find the right balance between offering high-quality healthcare services, implementing an advanced cyber security protocol, and protecting patient data. However, reputation damage due to data breaches is expensive and irreversible; you must be more prepared to avoid threats to your infrastructure.
Since cyberattacks are increasingly sophisticated, getting expert support is crucial to minimize disruption and ensure the safety of your employees’ and patients’ data.