Cyber threats are constantly evolving, leading many industries to have to spend more time and resources than ever on their cybersecurity efforts. Ransomware, for example, has dominated the cybersecurity conversation and forced many healthcare providers to seek out ways to safeguard their organizations from being held hostage by cybercriminals. The introduction of cryptocurrency is partially to blame for the increase in cyber attacks, as it makes it extremely easy for attackers to gain compensation from their targets with little risk of being identified. In a ransomware attack, criminals can block access to sensitive data or even an entire network and then demand cryptocurrency from the affected organization in exchange for its return.

Yet another cryptocurrency-related cybersecurity risk called “cryptojacking” has emerged to threaten the healthcare industry in a unique way. While it doesn’t necessarily cause the same amount of damage to an organization that ransomware and other data breaches do, it’s still cause for alarm.

How Does Cryptojacking Work?

Cryptocurrencies rely on what’s called blockchain technology to keep a ledger of all of the transactions that take place. The blocks in the ledgers are encrypted, and the necessary mathematical computations used to do this require a large amount of processing power. Some digital currencies will pay a small amount of money for the building and verification of each block of work completed. In order to make this a lucrative venture, the ability to complete this work on a large scale is necessary, but most cryptominers don’t have the resources to employ thousands of devices to do it for them.

This is where cryptojacking comes in. Cryptomining software is secretly placed on as many devices as possible in order to maximize profit. The attackers actually employ many of the same techniques that are used to distribute ransomware to victims, but rather than targeting data they are targeting processing power. It may seem like a relatively harmless attack, but this act can dramatically slow down computing resources and impact the overall performance of computers and equipment. In the case of hospital and other healthcare equipment, when things don’t perform the way they are designed to, the lives of patients can be in jeopardy.

Cryptojacking is a Serious Cybersecurity Risk

Once cryptomining software has been installed on a device, that device is considered compromised. Even if sensitive data is not being directly accessed, it is considered a data breach, which carries its own set of implications in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare organizations have to remain vigilant in their cybersecurity efforts in order to protect themselves from becoming victims of cryptojacking and keep their patients and patient data safe from attackers. This includes a multitude of strategies, including CPU monitoring, keeping anti-virus software, firewalls and operating systems, up to date, removing inactive software and devices from a network and obtaining cyber liability coverage from a knowledgeable cyber risk services source.

 

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.