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Cybercriminals find healthcare data to be an appealing target, as medical records contain a large amount of personal information. There is a drastic need for better cybersecurity protocols - and how hospitals and other medical agencies handle paper and electronic records.
Thirty four percent of reported medical data breaches over the past three years took place in California, Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois - with a mix of healthcare system partners, insurers, and other third parties helping contribute to the problem.
"News of hacking incidents and cybersecurity [breaches] have been in the news so much lately, [that] both for industries inside and outside healthcare, one might get the impression that hacking is the most common reason for data breaches," said Dr. Vincent Liu, from the division of research for Kaiser Permanente, in a statement to Medpage Today. "In fact, we found that theft of paper or electronic records accounted for the majority - protecting the security and privacy of patient data needs to be a priority in many different venues, and with all types of patient data, including paper records."
Insider threats remain a significant threat to corporations, causing the most actual damage and harm, according to a recent survey published by the Cryptzone cybersecurity firm.
"It's remarkable that many organizations are still utilizing network security technologies developed in the nineties - a time when the Internet was still in its infancy," said Kurt Mueffelmann, president and CEO of Cryptzone. "The cyberattacks we have seen over the last few years have demonstrated that it's far too easy for hackers to steal user credentials, and then use those credentials to traverse the enterprise network in search of the most valuable data."
Forty-eight percent of respondents said IT departments are main controllers related to cybersecurity policy, 36 percent said information security owns policy control, and 12 percent noted compliance or risk management teams are responsible for security policies.
Cybercriminals are finding security vulnerabilities that allow them to target critical infrastructure like electric grids, and could also begin targeting nuclear power plants, according to a cybersecurity specialist in Israel.
"The disruption and possible infiltration of critical infrastructure is the most severe form of cyberattack," said Col. Dr. Gabi Siboni, director of the cyber security program at the Institute for National Security Studies program, in a statement to the Jerusalem Post. "Such attacks on airplanes or air traffic control towers, for instance, means that hackers could cause accidents, or even paralyze entire flight systems. As of now, this area of capabilities is the exclusive domain of developed states."
The United States, UK, Israel, South Korea, and other nations have expressed concern related to critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Recently, South Korea - which has blamed North Korea - suffered a breach at its national nuclear plant operator, though quickly confirmed its 23 atomic reactors weren't at risk.
Enterprise security company SentryBay has unveiled a new anti-keylogging solution designed for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile products. To help keep mobile users secure, the product generates a dedicated secure keyboard, keystroke encryption, screen capture protection, and the generation of fake random characters.
Both Google Android and Apple iOS cache user keypad entries, providing savvy hackers with the ability to monitor and uplift what is entered.
"We are pleased to announce these latest innovations," said Dave Waterson, CEO of SentryBay. "For a long time we have been a leader in PC-based anti-keylogging technology, but after years of R&D we finally feel the solution we have developed for mobile can provide the strong data entry security that app developers are looking for."
Cybersecurity experts from around the world will descend on the Moscone Center in San Francisco for RSA Conference 2015 this week. The growing security industry is expected to be worth up to $20 billion within the next three years, as the US government and private sector companies purchase new software and hardware.
"Seven or eight years ago you could hear a pin drop at RSA," said Dan Ives, analyst at FBR Capital Markets, in a statement to FT. "Now it is going to be like a Bon Jovi concert. It is the seminal event in cybersecurity: the new year's eve, the wedding, the bar mitzvah."
A number of high-profile security incidents in 2013, 2014 and so far in 2015 have shown the need for next-generation cybersecurity solutions. More than $1 billion in venture capitalist funds have been invested in cybersecurity during Q1 2015 alone - and it appears more investors are preparing to flock to the market.
US lawmakers and military officials are worried that their cyber abilities are still not advanced enough, especially in regards to cybersecurity, and want to increase efforts to recruit cyber warriors. The top Pentagon cyber official, Eric Rosenbach, confirmed he is concerned that the Cyber Command doesn't have a strong command and control platform that can launch strong offensive cyber weapons.
"Today I think we are, we could be, an easy target," said Air Force Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin, deputy commander of the US Cyber Command, in a recent statement to Capitol Hill.
The US military wants to create a group of 6,200 'cyber warriors' by the end of next year, working in 133 operational teams. Along with increasing manpower, US military leaders want to invest in new hardware and software that will give it an advantage against foreign governments.
The Iranian government has a growing cyber arsenal capable of launching more attacks against political rivals and foreign governments, according to the Norse cybersecurity firm and the American Enterprise Institute. Even with international sanctions, the country has been able to create tools used for reconnaissance and intelligence collection from compromised targets.
"Cyber gives them a usable weapon, in ways nuclear technology does not," said Frederick Kagan, director of the American Enterprise Institute's Critical Threats Project, in a statement published by the New York Times. "And it has a degree of plausible deniability that is attractive to many countries."
There is concern that Iran would spend even more money to help develop its cyberweapons - but the country has already continually improved its current attack capabilities. China and Russia have developed capable cyberattack efforts, but cybersecurity experts show the most concern that North Korea and Iran are trying to improve their hacking tools.
There were at least 29 million US healthcare records stolen between 2010 and 2013 in data breaches, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). More than 58 percent of data breaches occurred by theft, with two-thirds of the incidents caused by electronic data that was stored on laptops, USB drives, and other portable media.
Stanford University and Kaiser Permanente researchers studied data breaches that involved at least 500 victims or more, so the 29 million figure could actually be even higher. It's also worth noting that some healthcare patients could have been victimized more than once, as some data may have been duplicated.
Cybersecurity professionals believe 2015 could be the year of healthcare record chaos, as Anthem suffered a breach - and more could be on the way.
Small businesses are a lucrative target for cybercriminals trying to launch ransomware malware attacks, and the problem is only getting worse. Careless employees are tricked, typically using phishing emails, and the custom malware encrypts various files - demanding a ransom payment or the files will be permanently encrypted.
"They set the ransom so low that, as violated as I feel and as much as I wanted to fight, at the end of the day I realized I can pay and get back to work," said Mark Stefanick, president of Advantage Benefits Solutions, in a statement published by the Wall Street Journal. Stefanick chose to pay the $400 ransom so files were quickly decrypted and his company could get back to normal operation.
Around 30 percent of ransomware victims choose to pay the ransom to end the cyberattack, according to Trend Micro chief cybersecurity officer Tom Kellerman. There were at least 250,000 new ransomware samples studied by Intel Security during Q4 2014, a whopping 155 percent increase quarter-over-quarter.
A hacker group with support from the Chinese government has operated for more than 10 years without being detected, able to compromise information from companies and reporters, according to FireEye. Many of the attacks started with social engineering, with victims unknowingly installing the Mysterious Eagle malware onto PCs - so the hacker group could remotely monitor and control the compromised systems.
The APT30 group has been in operation from 2004 and was able to collect information "about journalists, dissidents and political developments in relation to China targeting government and military organizations, and targeting economic sectors of interest to China's economy."
The Chinese government has long been accused of funding cybercriminal groups aimed at compromising western targets - much of the attention is focused on the US government and companies with US customers.